Approaching Storm, Painter Ridge, Roxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard
It was late in the afternoon and I had spent several hours driving around the hills to the west of Woodbury. Even after nearly twenty years I feel like I have only touched the surface of the possible photographic opportunities around here. It hadn’t been very productive up until then; I guess my head just wasn’t in it and I was headed home. Painter Ridge Rd. was the logical route and about half way between Rt. 47 and Rt. 317 I looked over my shoulder and saw these storm clouds building. Here was what had been missing all afternoon; dramatic light.
I turned the car around a found a place to park and started to look for a foreground subject to play against the clouds that were turning darker by the minute. I was drawn to this lone tree standing on the crest of the hill so I began to look for the angle that would put it in the right spot. Off to the left out of the frame is a farmhouse that I wanted to avoid and if I had moved too far to the left the tree would not have the most interesting clouds as background.
I was carrying my big Gitzo tripod with the Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead over my shoulder. The camera, around my neck, was already mounted with an L-bracket from Really Right Stuff so that I could easily change from horizontal to vertical in case I decided to shoot multiple exposures and stitch for a panorama. In the end I made two exposures with the camera in the vertical position and stitched them into the image above.
This all had taken about fifteen minutes and in that time I could feel the temperature drop and the wind swing around to the northwest. About this time I began to see some lightning and it got me wondering how it was that this lone tree sitting exposed on this hill hadn’t been hit by lightning. Just then it hit me; here I was walking around in an open field near the top of a hill carrying a metal tripod and I started feeling exposed myself. Time to leave.
Pentax K5IIs with 35mm macro lens. Image processed in Photoshop CS4.