Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running Ahead of the Storm

This has been a very unusual May for northern California, especially the Sacramento Valley.

While it isn't completely unusual to have rain and cool weather, it is usual to have almost daily thunderstorms, and it's extremely unusual to have tornadoes - both of which we've had.

In a single week, we had 4 severe thunderstorms pass over Chico, including three tornadoes just south of town that made the national news and damaged a number of orchards. One night we had nickel-sized hail fill our back yard.

The frequent storms and cool, cloudy weather have thwarted most of my attempts to do any landscape photography in the past month or so, but last Saturday I was determined to get out no matter what the weather.

Of course, a major thunder cell emerged from the north as I headed into the field and began to move south down the valley. Though I had originally intended to head north, once I saw this huge stormfront, I turned around and ran south to stay ahead of the storm.

The Coming Storm

Unfortunately, the storm caught up to me right as the sun was setting. I was hoping to get some 'God rays' - beams of sunlight through the clouds - as the sun set, but the cloud thickened up too much for that.

Sunset ahead of the storm

However, I did get a few colorful sunset images over the rice fields before the storm closed in and dumped buckets of water.

Sunset ahead of the storm

All in all, it was a fun shoot, and I always enjoy extreme weather.

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