The maw of the storm

So I’m done with alligators. For now.

For months, arguably a few years, we’ve been in a drought. On the upside, we’ve been spared of the tornado laden hell-raisers that waft out of north Texas and Oklahoma, on the downside we’ve had record heat and the local farmer’s market has more arts & crafts for sale these days than vegetables. The effect on photography I’ve noticed is that we have had zero clouds. Zilch.  When doing any kind of landscapes, I like to have at a few in the air to break the light up to an extent. But we just had a super-soaker come through as shown above. This one caught me a bit off-guard. I had been pumping gas when everything started to darken.  Testimonial to how dark it suddenly became, it triggered the street lamps shown in the photo to flicker on. This was around 2 in the afternoon.

When these summer storms boil-up around here, there is about a 15-20 minute window when it is eerily quiet, and then they cut loose as if they were waiting to swallow up the entire horizon before go time.

My goal was to get the clouds, but I wanted to get something to frame with them and was in bad location for something scenic. I drove around for a little while but knew my window was closing fast so I ducked off at a park road near the river. By then, the definition of the clouds wasn’t as strong in the sky facing the horizon over the river. My only option was the opposite way toward the highway. Down on my belly on the road bank, I was able to get this one. A minute later, everything erupted and I was dashing to the car trying to protect an enormous camera from the rain under my shirt.

As for processing, I was shooting these in bracketed exposures to make sure I caught everything in the clouds. I took the darkest exposure and the lightest and manually blended them in Photoshop with layer masks. I then created 6 luminosity masks: midtones, lights, darks, dark darks, shadows and super darks. I applied a heavy contrast curve to the midtones mask and then tweaked all the “dark” masks to get the toning in the clouds and bring some light into the foreground.

I’ve had a few people ask me about “luminosity masking.” I learned the technique from David Nightingale’s Chromasia site, but have learned that he was in collaboration with Tony Kuyper who has an excellent & free (!) tutorial on the technique. If interested, check it out here

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The maw of the storm

  1. OMG! This is so good. Feast for the eyes and a story to be told. Stands for more than drought, dear friend. I think there is a moment in everyone’s life where a “Dead End” looms heavy and we turn and make changes to face them. Brilliant! I would bedrawn to spend some time in front of this photo if I viewed it in a show.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Cogtography

© 2014 Tom Coghill Photography, All Rights Reserved

Cardinal Guzman

Encyclopedia Miscellaneous - 'quality' blogging since August 2011

Jeff Sinon Photography

Nature Through The Lens

Cfbookchick - a Girl, a Camera, a Challenge...

The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer.

Spiderpaw's Blog

Photography as I see it

HDR shooter

HDR photos by Miroslav Petrasko

Captured by Pam

A click a day keeps creativity at bay.

Photo-Q

photography by Joshua Quattlebaum

Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Everyday, an Adventure.

Herding Cats. Treading Water.

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Mufidah Kassalias

Writer, Photographer & Slow-Travelling Digital Nomad

Imagery of Light

Photography by Sheila Creighton

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY

A Free To Share Chronicle by Michael Xavier Ortiz

Digital Darkroom Techniques

Sharing ideas and how-to's about post processing your digital images

Steven Tze Photography

Journey from picture taker to photographer

A Quan Ha Photo

my life, one photo at a time

Emily's Photography Blog

Every picture has a story to tell... verbally or silently.

%d bloggers like this: