Owens Valley - Angry Skies


Owens Valley - Angry Skies

Northbound on HWY 395 somewhere between Independence and Big Pine, CA (two strategically located "blink-your-eyes and you missed it" small towns along this route.) I enjoyed sunrise further south in the hills west of Lone Pine (another small town along 395, but larger than Independence and Big Pine.)

It was a Tuesday morning. Mid-October. Autumn. I had the entire week off and I was enroute to the higher elevations of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in eastern California to seek out and photograph the autumn colors, and I planned on milking every single second of life out of this week.

I watched this weather moving in, stall and begin to build from at least 50 miles back down the road. If my memory is correct, I was probably 30 miles or so south of where I created this photograph when the first few raindrops splattered onto my wind shield. I slowed, turned the country music to a faint whisper and rolled my window down. The air was saturated with the smell of falling rain and wet blacktop (I love that smell.) The rain was light and hissed as it sprayed out from under my rotating tires. The clouds continued to gather, morph and darken as I drew near. The rain started and stopped several more times over the previous twenty miles or so.

I was startled by the first bright flash of cloud to ground bolt lightning and now sat a little taller in my seat, gripped the steering wheel a little tighter and was smiling, no, not smiling. Grinning. Grinning like a little kid that without permission just secretly took and ate a candy form the candy dish just five minutes before Easter dinner was to be served (don't tell grandma!) Lightning became more frequent. Rumbling thunder could now be heard above my hissing rainy passage. I slowed and continued north, now hunched over my steering wheel spending more time looking up at the threatening sky than at the wet two lane road.

The rain was falling a little harder and louder. Things were starting to look really nasty. Like hydroplane nasty, hail damage nasty, or flash flood looking nasty. Menacing, evil, angry and hazardous. BUT sometimes you just have to say "Fuck it" and pull over and take the shot!

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