Storm over Tombstone Valley


Pasteur said that chance favors the prepared mind. I would say the same about capturing landscape images. I know that the more prepared I am for an assignment, the better the images tend to be.

My wife was assisting me on an assignment to Canada’s Yukon Territory, a pure-and-simple magical land that I visit whenever I can. We had driven by RV nearly its entire length, from Whitehorse in the south, past the Arctic Circle in the north. I love stopping at Tombstone Valley because it is a landscape artist’s dream spot. It changes every season, every day, every hour and, as I learned here, every minute.

The day was threatening throughout and by mid-day the temps had dropped significantly, even though it was only late August. I thought it might be fruitless to stop for a shoot, but then I reconsidered, made a U-turn (try that in an RV!) and pulled into the overlook. There were only a few tourists watching the brewing storm. As I set up my tripod and camera, the storm clouds became more pronounced and the winds kicked up to near gale force. Everyone ran for their vehicles and got out of there in a hurry.

The winds were so fierce I had to brace my tripod by hanging my 30-pound backpack from the center hook. And then it happened. For the briefest of seconds the sun burst through the clouds. Snap, snap, snap and it was over! With my wife screaming for me to get my butt back into the RV, I ran for safety, just as the graying skies began dumping their white, fluffy load. We had to buck the winds to get to a secure campsite a few miles down the road, but I smiled all the way.

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