Northern Michigan is known for its ‘sudden’ weather shifts. The morning may be quite rainy and humid. Later that morning, the winds can shift, causing a cold front to move in. And later that evening, the skies suddenly begin to rumble far off in the distance. All seems benign…until exiting the cover of the forest. The sprinkles do not seem at all a cause for concern. The rain begins to intensify, the winds abruptly pick up, and seconds later, large chunks of hail begin falling. The rain jacket, pants and shoes are soaked. And a minute later, the skies begin to clear–just for a moment.
This is what happened to me last night, while out hiking before dark. I am glad I brought my rain jacket, and wore clothes that had not a trace of cotton. I can only imagine the feeling if I had wore jeans and cotton socks. Rather unlike me, I took no pictures at all during the hike. It was not until the rain began to intensify did I see a worthy landscape to capture in front of me.
I knew my camera would be soaked, but that is why I bring along a camera I am not afraid to lose to damp internals. That evening, I had brought along my trusty Kodak P-880. And I am happy I did. I had one chance to get the shot before my lens became covered in smeary rain droplets. I leaned over, checked my settings, and trusting the camera, quickly removed the lens cap, and pressed the shutter release button. Moments later, the hail had soaked my camera. The image that follows is the sole frame I managed to capture before this soaking occurred. As I hastily put the camera back in its case, I wondered if the frame was worth possibly a defunct camera. I would find out later that night…
As I walked back to the car, the sky began to clear. When I arrived to the car, I was about to put my soaked items in the car, and head home. I decided to look back one more time, and I am glad I did. The sky cleared for just a moment, and I tried the Kodak again–success!
Sometimes the most memorable photographs are those that are captured during times of extreme weather (especially landscape images). The featured photograph in this post is the result of that final look back. The cloud was brilliant white, and the sky around it was a milky grey-blue. Moments later, the clearing sky was overtaken by the storm clouds, never to be seen again that evening. Like snowflakes, are no two clouds ever the same? Is each cloud a once-in-a-lifetime form? If so, photographing a cloud is a very special event.
On the drive home, I was excited to see how the pictures turned out. I was certain they would be blurry, and lacking any sort of emotion. When I viewed the RAW images in Adobe Lightroom, I knew at once it was worth sacrificing my Kodak. The Kodak survived to take pictures another day. Perfect.