Over the Rainbow
Summer storms that roll through Jackson Hole can be impressive. Often the leading edge brings with it spectacular cloud formations. When the storm arrives and begins to sweep over the mountains, thunder echoes as it bounces off the peaks; heavy rain creates translucent curtains which temporarily obscure the range.
As someone who grew up in a tornado-prone area and developed a lifelong fear of twisters as a result, it's ironic that I've turned into something of a storm chaser. The fact that tornadoes aren't common in Wyoming and Idaho might have some bearing on my willingness to stay and watch rather than run and hide. :)
I prefer to photograph these from a little bit of a distance where I can get better perspective. Sometimes, though, storms catch me by surprise - especially when they show up earlier than forecast or pack a bigger punch than expected. If heavy weather arrives quickly I head for cover in my vehicle, hope for no hail - and sit back to watch the show as it moves over me.
Going back through some of the many storm images in my files recently, I found one I'd forgotten about. This was a "just for fun" photograph - but it might give you a sense of what one of these looks like when it's passing directly overhead. In this case I was in the middle of Grand Teton National Park and had opened the window so I could shoot while keeping the lens (mostly) dry.
This was a wild storm but very short-lived, which made for interesting imagery. As high winds rocked the car and rain came down in sheets, I could see clearing and blue sky on the other side of it. It conjured up the Wizard of Oz: somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue...
In the spirit of the movie, black and white and color are combined. Why not? Open the door to Oz in Technicolor!
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