Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rare Light Handheld, Why Not?

Sierra Storm at Sunset, Ahwahnee, California  2010

Sierra Storm at Sunset, Ahwahnee, California 2010

1/25 sec at f/5.6, focal length: 22mm, ISO 320, Aperture Priority,
- January 8, 2010 6:02pm PST. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D MarkII, EF 17-40mm f/4L, hand held

Friday evening gave one of the best light shows I think I've ever seen here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. So why would I photograph it hand held therefore sacrificing image quality? Because I was being lazy. I didn't want to bother with my tripod and honestly I wasn't even planning on photographing in the first place. I was having fun with my kids and sometimes things are just better experienced without a camera in hand. I thought this was going to be one of those times but then I saw this...


So I finally grabbed my camera, switched to a custom setting that is basically aperture priority with auto ISO and ran out into the yard. You can see that it's still just a record shot of an incredible rainbow (double rainbow if you look close enough) and incredible light. But then the clouds started to break and progress towards what you see above and I just went with it. There was no time to grab a tripod. Light and clouds were changing rapidly. It was exciting, loose, and liberating all at the same time. The camera truly became an extension of completely experiencing nature's amazing display. There was no need to focus on technique or nitpick the composition. I could drop the camera to my side, out of view, feel the light rain fall on my face, breathe in the fresh smell of water on earth and hear the silence that occurs as a storm is breaking. Then I could bring the camera back to my eye and discover what there was to see.

15 minutes and 68 images later, I walked back inside, set the camera down and resumed my fatherly duties.


  1. Wow - I'm glad you were led to go out and capture these. Gorgeous.

  2. Beautiful pictures and i can almost sense the situation and the climate! Thanks for dealing with us :)

  3. Really nice - love those serendipity moments!

  4. Awesome !!! the sky is so lovely !!!!

  5. Incredible captures. I hope you told your kids that you "summoned" that rainbow just for them. That line usually works for the first few years.


  6. Wow!! Great shots! Thanks for sharing! God's creation is so wonderful to behold in this day and age of technology!

  7. Different, but both are excellent shots. The clouds look so powerful and looming in the first one. Glad you jumped outta the chair and got out there!

  8. Thank you everyone for joining in with your comments! I've seen images of the following sunrise 1 hr away from where I live that were even more intense and amazing, though I didn't see the real deal for myself.

    Thanks again and Cheers!