Eastern Sierra captured by D1 / 28-70f2.8AFS

With a brilliant flash of light turning the night into day followed by a tremendous crash echoing through the canyon, the monsoon thunderstorm announced its arrival. I was sitting on the couch working at the computer as the boom of the thunder was replaced by the sound of the roof being viciously attacked by hail. Grabbing my headlamp, I headed outside to see golf ball size hail bounding off the ground. It was just glorious as the skies opened up instantly creating a river running past the door carrying the hail forming a layer of white, bouncing lifeboats of ice. Thirty minutes later, the skies were clearing, the river was gone and the hail melted back into the earth.

It reminded me of the first time I went chasing after a thunderstorm in the Eastern Sierra with a digital camera back in August, 2000. The D1 wasn’t even a year old and for most, they hadn’t heard of digital photography yet let alone own a digital body. There I was standing amongst the sage trying like crazy to captured the lightning as the clouds swirled about. Shooting with a 16MB card, I was into my second card when the lightning bounced off the ground a short distance away and before I could move, the hail was bouncing off me and more to my horror, the D1! I dashed back into the safety of the truck shell and waited out the hail and then hopped back outside to continue shooting.

The funny thing is, I had totally forgotten that afternoon until last week when the storm brought it all crashing back to my memory. I immediately went to my files and found this photo bringing it all back to my heart, that moment of fear, exploration, and exhilaration. That’s still the main reason why I love photography so much. Memories brought back to life from long ago in another life.

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