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“The best way out is always through.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Just the other day I posted an entry here on the importance of always "being prepared" and tonight I broke my own rule. Let me tell you what happened.

Earlier this week I read about a huge air show that's happening up in Rhode Island and decided it would be a great thing to shoot for one of my books, so I've spent the past few days getting cameras ready, making a hotel reservation, etc. Because of this my cameras were in my office, packed for the road or getting charged up. It had been stormy all day and, in fact, I had stood out on my sidewalk with a few neighbors, Connie and Joe, admiring the incredibly intense storm clouds that were forming. Just as they left the lightning began and it started to pour. A few minutes later I decided to go out and grab a burger and since it was still pouring out, decided not to take a camera along. Big mistake!

I bought the burger and then went and sat down by the Housatonic River to watch the departing storm. As the storm began to break up, I looked toward the mouth of the river and noticed there was a large rainbow trying to form. It started up and faded about a half dozen times but then the sun burst through the clouds and the rainbow soared up into the sky. To my amazement it formed a perfect arch and I could clearly see both ends at the horizon and the complete arch--a site I don't recall ever seeing by that river before. Oh, and did I mention I didn't have a camera with me? The rainbow was beautiful, but fortunately (for my dignity) it wasn't a brilliant radiant rainbow that demanded to be photographed. Still, with the river full of sailboats at anchor and the dark sky surrounding it, I surely would have photographed it if I could have.

OK, so fast forward about a half an hour. It was time to go home and as I drove up my street I looked up into the sky to see one of the most unusual cloud formations I'd ever seen--anywhere. It looked like an artist had just dabbed the sky with a thousand puffs of white paint--all shaped almost identically and all looking as soft as cotton. I ran inside unpacked a camera and looked out the front window toward the west to see how the clouds were doing--gone! So I went to the bathroom and there they were, scutting toward the southeast and now dipped in a beautiful golden light. I only had time to shoot off a few dozen quick frames before the sun set completely and the light vanished.

The clouds weren't as fascinating looking as they were when they were in the west a few minutes earlier, but still they were very pretty. I shot the two photos here from my bathroom window--not the place where I normally shoot nature scenes from (though I've done it quite a few times). So I didn't get the rainbow shot, I didn't get the puffy clouds, I still managed to get a few interesting shots.

And I learned a lesson: pay attention to your own advice! By the way, I shot the top photo with a 70-300mm Nikkor and then switched to an 18-70mm for the second shot. The top shot looks more like what I saw when the clouds were in the west, but I like the impact of the wider view.

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