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“Nature’s Wrath”

Painted Hills, John Day Natl Monument, Oregon

The Story of "Nature's Wrath"

It was my second visit to the Painted Hills region of the John Day National Monument; an isolated park in Eastern Oregon.  My first visit delivered very little in usable content, and my memories were tainted by those mediocre photos that a young photographer failed to capture.

This visit was anything but mediocre -- the Painted Hills produced a rare magic and in just one overnight stay, became my favorite park in all of Oregon!

This shot was supposed to be a sunset photo facing the other direction, but a thick dark cloud blew quickly in and smothered all the light and color the day had promised.  I was irritated that I would miss this prime light, but found instead a much more rare opportunity.  While the clouds exploded with light and sparks, the rain remained distant.  I scrambled for a new composition featuring the otherworldly purple-red hills to provide foreground for the lightning storm that was blowing in.

Before long, the sky was cracking and booming every few seconds, and the camera started firing in turn.  This shot is the result of a 30-second shutter hold, capturing multiple chains of lightning.

That dreaded storm that ruined my sunset sparked a new passion; storm photography!

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