Monday, February 21, 2011

Two fold update

Going to start off with today's overlooked photo, a shot from July 22nd 2010 in DeKalb County, IL. Hours earlier, Tia and I witnessed a pair of tornadoes in Wisconsin and had since returned home on steak filled bellys. Once I got home and was busy uploading photos and videos while Tia vegged with crappy TV shows, my phone rang with a call from Gilbert Sebenste. He was informing me of incoming supercells still ongoing just to our northwest. They were prolific lightning producers and would be in DeKalb County in an hour. I unplugged everything and threw it back in the car, picking Gilbert up on the way out of town as we made one more intercept before the day was over.

Unfortunately the strength of the thunderstorms quickly waned as they approached, but the night sky optics only increased. A full moon was in place to our south where skies were clear ahead of the approaching storm. This provided a rare night time front-lit situation for the incoming storm. Also in play were the city lights in distant Rockford which illuminated the underbelly of the storm a glowing orange and red.

Making this shot is what it is, we have the moon to the left illuminating the banding along the front edge of the storm, various towns illuminating the storm in an orange glow, and then Gilbert Sebenste checking data on the laptop on my car in the center.

On to reason #2 of my update this evening, that being the results of my night outing over the weekend. I expected nearly completely clear skies on Friday but was greatly mistaken. I spent some time with the family down in Champaign during the evening, but finally decided to head out and do my thing a little after midnight. With the full moon I wanted a fun foreground, but was really stumped as to where to go. That region is full of flat land that is optimal for storm viewing, but not really so great for dynamic landscape for a photographic foreground.

In following my trends from over the winter holiday season an old high school favorite spot came to mind - an old abandoned farm house about 10 miles south of the city. When I first got my drivers license at age 16 I'd spend my evenings in my parent's minivan with my crappy digital camera in tow looking for things to photograph. Being at the mercy of my parents for my entire life and now having the freedom to see what lay beyond the city limits was an incredible feeling.

One day in the winter of 2003 I stumbled upon this amazing piece. In a region where very ordinary farm steads are commonplace every mile down every country road, this place stood out for certain. I threw the van in park and got out, walking around it for a bit letting the history of the home fully engulf my naive 16 year old mind. It's hard to fathom how long ago it was, and what life was like when people were first occupying this home. Some silly 16 year old boy such as myself could have been running around in the very front yard that I was standing in, in a time when the only way for him to make a trip into the "city" to his north would be by foot, while my parent's minivan sit idle a stones throw away.

There is actually a more modern home adjacent to this building, and I wonder if perhaps it's owned by the same family. I do plan on heading out there some afternoon and knocking on their door to find out. I'd love to find the actual history behind the home.

Here's the shot I came away with on Friday night. No star trails, but the full moon is always a good guarantee for surreal lighting in the middle of the night.

For kicks, here is the photo that I took back on that day in 2003 at age 16.

1 comment:

-Chris said...

Gah, such a sick shot! Great work!