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Gathering Storm over Wild Basin

I had previously scouted this area and found this geometrically interesting pothole nestled above an alpine lake. The pothole was dry at the time, but I figured that if I timed my return visit to follow a major rainfall it might contain water. So when we received significant rain a couple of weeks later I decided to go for it. Leaving the trailhead at 1:00 am, I made the 7-mile moonlight hike/climb back to this spot and was glad to see the pothole was full. The Continental Divide runs along the ridgeline at the horizon. Under the right conditions, moist air is forced up the Western Slope and produces dramatic storm clouds. ¬†Unfortunately, a thick wall of clouds to the east on this day was blocking the sunrise from bathing the mountains in alpenglow. Making matters worse, relentless high winds made camera vibration a substantial impediment to capturing a sharp image. It seemed as though my considerable efforts would be in vein. But I’ve learned not to give in to despair and pack it in too soon. A few short seconds of magic light is all it takes to bag a killer shot. And that magic light can occur at any moment; even when all hope seems lost. The key is to be prepared when it happens. When golden light finally broke through, I fired several bursts between wind gusts. Then the light was gone as fast as it came. On the long hike out, I was bombarded by a torrent of rain most of the way. But I got the shot! The setting moon peeking through the storm clouds provided the icing on the cake.

   
  All materials ¬© copyright by Joseph Thomas