Mt Doom

Very interesting weather here over the past few days.  For this time of year, clouds are a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because they help block the sunlight, helping cool down the area.  Oftentimes they bring rain, which we sorely need.  Sometimes they bring lightning, which this dry land really doesn’t need, although it does serve to help clean out the forests.

This was one of those weeks.  Storms, lightning and fires.

On Monday, Goddess and I decided to head out east to look around one of the recently extinguished fires, knowing that new storms would be headed into the area.  It was an area we had never visited, so it was a bit of an adventure.  Lots of landscapes, lots of cloudscapes, plenty of rain and some lightning.  For just an afternoon of getting out to take pictures, we managed to put 300 miles on the car.

On Tuesday, I decided that I should stay a bit closer to home.  All indicators pointed towards a much more active day of thunderstorms, so I did what any reasonable person should not do and headed to one of the nearby open peaks.  I had not climbed up to that vantage point before and was pleasantly surprised to have a great view of all of the action over the mountains and valley.  I could even see the storms as they hit our town and house.  Goddess texted me updates while I watched the storms sweep the valley.

Great fun!

This shot was looking west towards Mount Ashland, our local ski mountain.  The sky was already quite moody, with the latest thunderstorm that passed over the peak just off frame right, moving northeast away from the mountain and towards our house.

Stormy Mount Ashland

From the second I noticed how the clouds were stacking over the mountain, I had intended for this to be a black & white shot.  But as I processed the image, tweaking the contrasts just a bit to bring out the drama that I saw, I realized that the colors that were there really added to the mood, much more than the black & white that I envisioned and tried during processing.

I even consulted with my editor.  Goddess agreed that the color version was much stronger.

I can’t wait to see it in print.


A moment later I changed lenses and turned to my right, training the view on the leading edge of the storm that had just cleared off Mount Ashland.  It was really starting to rock and roll out over the Rogue Valley.

Rogue Lightning

The tall white building at the base of the hill lower middle is the Ashland Springs Hotel, the tallest building in our little town.  As the crow flies, our house is just about a mile from there.

In an earlier storm, Goddess reported hail at the house, which persisted and cause a fair bit of damage at local farms.  By the end of Wednesday, the lightning had sparked 30 small fires, which have stayed small thanks to the copious rain that accompanied the storms.

Now it’s nice and cool, almost autumn like.

Just about perfect.

5 thoughts on “Mt Doom”

  1. Are photographers mad! – Hunting storms from a peak – brave and you certainly grabbed some good shots
    Must Google Rogue Valley – not sure where it is.

    1. Yes!


      But I did fall back on my meteorology career to understand how and where the storms were moving, keeping in mind that lightning can strike 20 miles away from the storm.  But that doesn't mean that I didn't keep my fingers crossed.


      Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 7:17 AM

  2. Hey Bill…Beautiful! I have to say I’m glad to see you “tweak” things in processing, as I do it and always feel like I’m “cheating”.

    1. It's not cheating.  We "tweak" things the second we turn on the camera and decide which settings to use.  Prior to digital, it was done by deciding which film, then which settings to use.  Had this been a film shot, I still would have tended towards using a contrasty paper, which would give a similar effect in the details.


      So don't feel like you're cheating. 


      Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s