Saturday, June 19, 2010

I understand..............more than I used to

You know those news stories you hear all the time these days about rescues of adventure travelers?  The skiers who get lost in the mountains because they went in search of "better powder" to ski?  Or the rock climbers who get stuck on a ledge?  Or the snowmobilers who leave the trail to explore the backwoods?  Well, I used to think "What idiots".  And I guess I still think most of them are.  But, last night I got an idea of how things can change pretty darn fast and you find yourself in a rough spot.  About 7:30 last night I grabbed the camera and yelled back to the family that I going out shooting for a bit.  I headed west to catch some dramatic sunsets that occur after big storms like we had come through about 2 hours earlier. I could see totally dark skies to the southwest of me and knew another batch of storms were coming this way.  So, of course, I head towards the ominous clouds and lightning in the distance.  After about 25-30 minutes, I found a nice open patch of road(farmland), where I pulled over on the side of the road, setup my tripod, and starting shooting pics.  This was going to be, I thought, my chance to get what I call my "National Geographic cover shot" of a lightning strike.

Within 5 minutes of shooting, I was seeing a lot of lightning as the storm approached me.  Wow, what a trick to try and catch a lightning strike at the exact moment it happens.  No science to it. Just try to get lucky.  Within another 5 minutes I found myself right under the storm. After a strike pretty close to me and thunder that scared the he** out of me, I packed up the tripod and camera got in the car.  By then, the hardest rain I have ever seen started to come down.  I decided to sit a bit and see if it passes over fast and then I would resume shooting from the backside of the storm.  During this time I continued trying to get my lightning shot through the car window.  After 15 minutes more, realizing the storm wasn't passing by fast, I decided to make my way back home.  But, now, which way is home?  It is quite easy, I learned, to get lost when chasing something in the sky and just turning down any road that gets you there.  Add in pitch blackness from the storm clouds and a driving rain that makes windshield wipers got it.......send in the rescue team.  It did not get to that point, but if I would have at least had my cell phone(which I did not think to bring), which has GPS in it, I could have known what direction I was driving.  While making my way back, I saw a power transformer on the power lines about 100 yards in front of me get blown to pieces, a tree about 50 yards in front of me, fall and hit the road hard enough that it bounced a couple of times and there were the two side roads I turned down only to discover that they were impassable due to streams/creeks overflowing the road.  And you know what made it even worse?  It's around 10:00 at night by this time, and going through my head is the "drama",(yeah, I'm going to use the word "drama"), that I'm going to walk into when I do get home.  I did eventually get home around 10:30 with the eyes of my wife, son, and daughter all on me.  So, yes I understand, more, how "stuff" happens. Oh, and my National Geographic cover shot?  Not this time, but I did get a couple of lightning shots.


  1. Wow. Scary. Now you know what it would be like to be a "storm chaser." It reminds me of the time (in the middle of the afternoon) in Kansas when I was admiring the huge, folded gray clouds in the sky one minute and cowering beneath an underpass the next while all of heaven poured down.

  2. There was the time when Dorothy, her dog Toto and I were driving through Kansas. I had my Rolieflex and...........

  3. Are you kidding me?! This is so cool! Remember when you and Chris almost got struck by lightening when you were golfing?! I still remember the picture of the tree you took!