lightning

Night Storm, Wyoming High Plains

Night Storm, Wyoming High Plains

Night Storm, Wyoming High Plains

Harbinger of much-needed moisture for the shortgrass of the remote ranching country of eastern Wyoming’s High Plains, a 2 a.m. thunderstorm’s lightning strike softly illuminates the contours of the land. Such storms spelled problems for ranchers in the past, turning back roads into greasy, impassable swamps, but with the bittersweet boom of the new oil and gas bonanza has also come newly improved roads that provide a never-before-seen ease of access to the backcountry for residents.

Such thoughts never occurred to me until those same roads allowed me to get home on Saturday after the rains turned the Lusker Ranch road into, well…soup.

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Lost Springs Storm

Lost Springs Storm

Lost Springs Storm

Thursday night last week was one of those magical evenings when, as Ansel Adams was fond of saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” I had been to Lost Springs a number of times to photographically explore, but as storms rolled across east-central Wyoming near evening, I came back with the expectation of something…special. Chance, indeed: A train rolled through town, allowing life in the shot, and as a gift, the storm gave me a lightning bolt.

 

 

Retrospective: Storm and Lightning

Storm and Lightning, Hastings College, Nebraska

Storm and Lightning, Hastings College, Nebraska

Storms are a hoot to shoot; easy evidence is this shot, made on a hot July night as a massive and violent electrical storm rolled through, just south of Hastings. I made about 20 exposures that night, each time waiting for the perfect bolt of lightning to split the space between the Gray Center and trees. And with shot 19, nature played along.

Storm and Lightning, Hastings College, Nebraska

Storm and Lightning, Hastings College, Nebraska

Storm and Lightning, Hastings College, Nebraska

Many, many photographers love electrical storms: drama, fear, contrast and movement are all possible in spades when storms arise.  This thunderstorm passed south of Hastings College this last June, and I rushed to use the lines and lights of the college’s Gray Center, as well as the leaves of a nearby tree (I know, tree in a thunderstorm? Smart.) to create layers and depth.