When I hear the words ‘storm’s a-brewin’ I get excited, because that means the potential for dramatic light and CLOUDS! I love love love clouds. They make those blank shapes of sky work within your landscape images so much more effectively. Not always, but most times, they provide the atmosphere that an otherwise great shot is missing.

So on the day we arrived in Zion, we had driven through rain showers, dark clouds, etc., but by the time we dropped the dog off at Doggy Dude Ranch in Rockville, Utah, the skies were just gray and the light was so so. Still, we wanted to check the upper reaches of Zion, the washes in the Checkerboard Mesa area, so we spent time doing that, and called it a day before sunset. Although we rarely do that, we were kind of beat from the drive in the rain and it really didn’t look like anything was going to break. So guess what? We had just finished eating an early dinner in Springdale, and Jed walks back from the restroom and says nonchalantly, “the sun’s breaking out – should we go check it out?”. Not expecting much, I said “yes”, grabbed my coat and stuff and headed out the door. By the time we got to the car in the parking lot, the sun had broken through rain clouds and in the last ten minutes of sunlight for the day, it bathed the west side of the Watchman and the mountains beside it. We screamed with delight and went running for cameras, but we were in the middle of town!! Experience told us not to try to drive anywhere, or we might miss it entirely, so we both scattered to try and make something of this magical light.

Needless to say, it was exhilarating light and atmosphere, but alas, getting above rooftops and between the wires of technology along Zion Blvd in the heart of town was painful. So the best composition is the only one you get, right?! And this is what I ended up with; if only I had been 5 feet taller, I’d have included just a smidge more dark area below at frame edge, but a roof line interrupted that. But ya get what ya get when your caught with your ‘camera down’, right? It was still incredibly special, and I was grateful to experience it.


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