Just One Photo: Day 1
June 15th, 2015
Silver Lake – Deer Valley
Over the next 7 days, I’m challenging myself to find and capture 7 images. Sounds easy, right? Just go out and take a bunch of pictures and a few will turn out ok. What if I were to only take one single photo though, per day? Can I find something image worthy and capture it on the first attempt? I’ve asked myself these questions numerous times and this week I’m going to find out. Doing so is a strictly personal challenge and I want to use this as a learning tool for myself. Maybe someone else could benefit from these 7 images so I’m sharing them all here with a few words to go along. As an added challenge, they’ll all be in B&W.
Today is beautiful and sunny in Park City, with vividly green mountains and a few puffy white clouds. Yesterday was about as opposite as it gets. Extreme lightning cracked the sky all around Park City and much of northern Utah last night in a surprise outburst from the sky. Later in the summer, monsoon type storms roll up from Arizona and produce big lightning but mid-June is an odd time for this. I went out hiking later in the day to hopefully catch the tail of the storm before sunset but Nature had a different idea. Her idea was to electrify the sky and further soak the already green mountains. I was near the ridge line above Deer Valley when I realized what was about to happen.
I sat in a grove of aspens and it literally poured rain. There was no escaping the water and I was soaked from the waist down. I’ve learned a few times to always carry an extra coat and it felt reassuring that it was safe and dry, along with my camera, in a dry bag inside my pack. During one particular downpour, the light opened up to a glowing yellow and laughed at me. There was no way I could get my camera out to photograph it. No photo. A bit later, the slightest sliver of light illuminated the tips of some trees along a distant ridge, but the wind was strong so a clear telephoto image was out of the question. No photo. My last 2 compositions I found were almost a click of the shutter but the lightning and rain moved in incredibly fast. As you guessed, no photo.
I finally came back down to Silver Lake in the rain with my headlamp shining bright in front of me. I could see lightning blowing up the sky all over the horizon behind Park City and I counted. Over and over I counted and no strike was more than one minute apart, often being seconds apart. From there, setting a shutter of 2 minutes bettered my chances seeing a strike. I decided on a wide angle to hopefully catch a strike in the frame. My concern with this exposure was if too many bolts of lightning struck within the frame, I’d have massive blown out highlights. I adjusted my exposure -2/3 stop. I’d have black throughout the image but I wanted the contrast anyway so this was fine. After a quick review of everything I clicked the shutter. About 90 seconds in this single bolt cracked the far right of the scene. No other bolts struck during this exposure, in this frame. Upon reviewing this image at home, I was actually pretty happy with the result. The only overexposed area is the bolt itself and the blacks are pure black in the correct areas.
I’m not certain what I’m going to shoot today but I have a few images in mind. I’ll share more in the next day or two as this project progresses.
Thanks for reading,