Mt Bachelor, Oregon, USA by Steve Giardini

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Picture Story

I arrived well before sunset. Seasonal spring streams were running fast and overflowing their banks in the Sparks Lake Meadow.

Something was brewing to the South. I could see cumulus clouds building and moving slowly north towards me. Periodic lightening strikes appeared between the clouds and ground. I guessed the storm was 25 miles to the South and slowly moving my way. All I had to do was wait.

I spent the next hour composing what I hoped would be a dramatic storm image. I found a good size pool of water created by a stream dead end. The moon was over my right shoulder in a clear sky. It was in its first quarter phase but was shinning brightly on Mt. Bachelor and the meadow.

Civil and nautical twilight came and went. Stars began to appear as astronomical twilight waned. Lightning, followed by booming thunder happened with regular frequency. On the leading edge of the storm there was a layer of transparent thin clouds. I could see the stars faintly through them.

It was after midnight and pretty dark now. I mounted my wide angle lens and calculated my exposure. I planned a long exposure. Long enough to capture lightening, a cloud smear and, star trails.

I did some trail-and-error exposure testing and got the exposure dialed in. My exposure time was between 12-18 minutes! I evaluated each exposure and made necessary adjustments.

I took image after image making minor adjustments. Between exposures I was mesmerized by the storm passing in front of me. Finally satisfied I packed my gear. But I couldn’t leave. I stood there watching the storm for another 10 minutes, then it began to rain.


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