Open Thread for Early July 2010
The title of this landscape photograph of mine is, "Prairie Ghosts."
Sometimes, the old die not because of age, but instead because they are no longer needed. Time leaves us behind even as it carries us forward. Some can fight for their right to continue, either by changing and adapting or by keeping the present from becoming too unlike the past.
I try to do both. My strength is in the former; my heart is in the latter. One day, both my body and my spirit will wane. That, I know.
Not today, but someday. That's why I took this photograph for you to see. It is what remains for a while of the past as the future issues forth to make the strong weak, the hearty abandoned, the loud silent, the productive useless, and the living ghosts.
Still, this day, we fight; and perhaps we hope that someday, a long time from now, someone will see the ghosts of us and stop long enough to wonder who we were in that day when we had the strength and heart to live.
This is an open thread. Say what you have to say, and I shall do the same.
By about 7:00 p.m., the weather radar was showing deep thunderstorm cells billowing up from out of nowhere like a clan of malevolent Djin issuing forth from invisible lanterns of high-speed vertical convection currents fed by heat near the ground. Once mature, these evil genies were marching up from the south-southwest, with a particularly mean cluster bearing straight down on my town. I decided that I would seize the opportunity to set up my camera equipment to try some lightning photography as the storms approached. The first photograph below was taken as angry thunderheads marched close to the horizon and the higher storm clouds raced in like enormous, glowing-edged horses galloping across the sky to cover the setting sun.
Within an hour, the world was darker than it should have been at that time of day, and vast drums rolled the herald of coming troubles. The first herd of storm cells skidded by just to the west of where I had set up my camera and tripod in a cul-de-sac off a quiet street right around the corner from where I live. The nearly black sky had brought the street lights up, but flashes of lightning had then made them turn off, so I had good shooting conditions in front of me to try to catch lightning in the thunderstorms that had missed me.
The awesome shot below was the best I got, almost dead-on, no more than 50 yards away behind some very nice houses in which resided families no doubt jarred quite a bit by the stupendous bolt that had just slammed into the ground right behind their yards.
That lightning photograph above is better than any I had gotten before. I knew that right away. After staring in near disbelief at the shot in the review window of my Nikon D5000, I did a few adjustments to the settings and then looked up to see where the pockets of lightning had headed. Most were just a little to the north of where they had been a couple minutes earlier, but new storms were beating their thunder drums back farther south along the western horizon, so I repositioned the tripod back that way a little so I could catch them as they skidded by.
The word "back-building" was not in my inventory at the moment, but then it was. Behind me, a notoriously vicious thunderstorm cell had become all grown up very fast, and it announced its presence in grand form.
No more than maybe 50 feet behind me, without even the slightest decency to warn me, a magnificent lightning bolt hit paydirt.
My world, my immediate plans, in fact, the very essence of my being, took a sharp turn to the survival-dedicated animal within.
As best I can recall, self-directing motivational speech went primitive:
"BOOM make loud..."
"Pant legs flapped..."
"Take camera... Nikon expensive... lens, too."
"Loud whistle play in both ears. Hate that."
"Chest feel hurt. Man-part feel funny. Shockwave go out there."
"Find home. Open door. Stay in. Loud whistle. Hate that."
Although the rain was coming down pretty hard, I managed to get inside right before the real deluge arrived. Once in the relative safety of my hovel, I paced back and forth between the kitchen and the bathroom for what must have been at least 10 minutes before my mind was right and that totally pukey feeling had dissipated from random parts of my body. Through the ordeal of shaking off the post-traumatic stress symptoms, I was apparently entertaining my two cats, who just sat on table chairs staring at me. I suppose they were concerned about my fine motor skills recovering sufficiently to open cat food cans.
Despite the rude ending to my most successful lightning photography session ever, the evening was a big win. I got a great shot of a stormy sunset and a fabulous lightning strike photograph. As a bonus, I became reacquainted with a very important lesson I sometimes forget, and it has nothing to do with taking shelter when bad storms are about to hit.
No, the lesson I shall evermore diligently remember is much more important: as dangerous as the world where you're looking might be, you can brace yourself for those difficulties; it's the dangers where you're not looking that can turn you into an imbecile running around in the rain grunting like a caveman.
May the cautionary tale be told far and wide, dear readers.
Tuesday Night Photography: Harvest Waiting
I took this photograph with a Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor lens mounted on a Nikon D60 body. Regular visitors here might recognize this picture: it served as the background for my Hallowe'en 2009 Graphic #1 here at The Dark Wraith Forums. The shot is nice all on its own, so I am herewith sharing it with you.
Autumn is sad. Soon, the land will be still. Many things once alive and beautiful will die.
Spring will come, though; and we'll get to see the most incredible of all possible miracles: death is not really forever.
Believing that does not require faith; just patience.
I hope you like the picture.