I visited New Mexico for a few days in May. The only thing I asked was to get some time to photograph White Sands at those times when the light is “magic”. It happens twice a day – sunrise and sunset. My scheduled day came and, boy oh boy, was I excited.
However, driving to the park, the skies became more and more threatening. That was okay by me. I could try my hand at photographing the lightning. It was the whole making lemonade out of lemons thing for me. I was driven to take photos, practice getting the images I wanted, and a little bit of rain was not going to stop me. In fact, the sky would be fabulous, I reasoned. It will only make the sunset colors better and the sky more interesting.
The car was barely in park before I bailed out with my camera in hand. Notice I said camera. No tripod, no cable release, or remote triggering device. Just me and my camera. As I bolted (and I use that term loosely) up the first dune, I was using my legs to climb, but not really getting far in the sand. I stopped to laugh thinking I must look like a comical cartoon character, but, reality made me sober up – I was losing precious light and opportunity. Finally, I made it to the top of the dune! The wind was blowing like crazy and it was everything I could do to hold myself upright let alone hand-hold a camera still enough for a chance at a tack-sharp image. Tears were streaming down my face from the sand in my eyes, so I couldn’t see much, but I was still determined to get an image, or two – or three.
I managed to capture a few images before the Park Rangers made rounds through the Park using a loudspeaker to warn everyone a severe storm was approaching and we should return to vehicles and take cover. Yep. Fifteen minutes, the cost of the entry fee, and dust on my camera sensor for a handful of pretty much unusable photos. But, boy, do I have a new respect for those Park Rangers and the job they do.
I debated if I should share these because (1) they are NOT tack sharp, and (2) I probably shouldn’t admit that I was this foolish (or stubborn). Yes. I think I should share them as a cautionary tale.
When the sky looks like this, you should be concerned and take cover, my friends. Don’t walk around with a little, computerized piece of equipment wishing you had not left the 3-legged metal lightning rod (aka tripod) in the car.
But I’m still convinced I could have captured some great images. Just kidding.