I often think the weather and fate conspire to help me find emotionally powerful landscapes and people. Case in point: the Little Chicago cattle yard in this photograph. Begin story.
My assistant, Liz, and I had been following this storm for hours. We’d carefully checked the forecast for the Sand Hills that day, hoping for inclement weather and good subjects; the landscape photographer’s mantra is “Bad weather makes good pictures,” after all. As we hurried along to align ourselves to a photographically appropriate angle to the storm, things began to fall together, and looking over at Liz, I said, “Okay, I’m taking a left on the next gravel road, and maybe we’ll get lucky.”
Over the second hill about 1/2 mile down the road was this cattle yard. I slammed on the brakes, tossed the truck into the side of the ditch to park, and out we ran as the storm rumbled violently around us. Rain looked imminent, and in fact, more than we expected.
But the light. Oh, the light! The rolling expanse of the Sand Hills, the roiling black clouds backlit by late afternoon sun, the texture of the grasses and the irony of Little Chicago.
Lucky? Boy, were we ever.