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Clouds on the Trace


It has been a rainy weekend. My son’s baseball game got rained out in the third inning. The rain stopped once we got home. Little did we know, we would be back at the ball park after the rain. I got a call asking if my son could play for another team as they did not have enough players. Not only did he play in that game, but he played in the game after that one for another team. We started out with our own game at 9:00 and did not leave the park until around 4:00.  We had a fun time. It was nice to set in the stands with my wife instead of coaching on the field. If my son had his way, he would play baseball all day. Anyway after we got home again, I decided to head out to take some pictures.

What moved me to get out was the interesting cloud formations. I’ve been in a landscape mode lately and wanted to see if the clouds would give me an interesting sunset. I did not want to head too far from home, so I headed out to my favorite stretch of highway, the Natchez Trace Parkway. I had at least one spot in mind that I wanted to capture. I have shot this scene in the past. I wanted to see if I could get an interesting sky this time. Well, I did not get the sunset color I was wanting, but the clouds were interesting. Since I don’t have any graduation filters, I decided to take 4 frames and compile them together for 1 image. By doing this, I could keep the detail in the clouds and the foreground. The SNS HDR software did a good job of bringing the photo close to what I saw without going over the top.



Chasing Clouds


Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR



After my first shot, I continued down the road until I came upon another stretch of road that had a good lead in composition. This stretch of road was pointing more in the West direction than before. Since I was pointing more toward where the sun would set, I was hoping that I might get some color as the sun descended toward to horizon. I set up my camera and waited to see what would emerge. Well, just the opposite happened. It started to get more cloudy and I watched an ominous cloud formation develop right in front of me. I could hear thunder in the distance. With my remote trigger in hand, I poised to catch a lightning strike at the horizon. The cloud cover acted as a gigantic soft box and rendered soft even lighting across the scene. Thus, 1 frame would be sufficient. While waiting, I went ahead and grabbed a few frames of the approaching storm. It turns out that my lightning streaks were a bust. Things got darker and the rain started to fall. I quickly tore everything down and headed home. Below is my favorite frame. If you look closely, you can actually see the rain coming on the horizon.



Something Wicked This Way Comes


Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5



Both of the pictures in this post are dramatically different, but only a few minutes apart. It’s amazing how the light can change so drastically from one moment to the next. I hope you enjoyed the images. Thanks for reading!



Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!




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  1. Avatar
    dismason August 14, 2016 at 10:55 #

    A nice story! The photographs are also beautiful with great depth of field. But as a glider pilot I like the HDR pic most. I can really feel the thermals in the clouds 😉

    • Travis
      Travis August 14, 2016 at 11:41 #

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. I don’t know much about flying a glider, but I would gather that it is very important to know how to read the clouds.

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