Trace Elements of the Coming Glory

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Last night my wife took a picture off our east deck (with her phone), and that pic is posted below. She put it up on her blog, and I wanted to do the same here, because it illustrates a point I have often wondered about. Why is it that nature photography is so limited, in comparison, say, to portraiture? And when a picture is stunning, in an Ansel Adams kind of way, it is usually because he has brought something to the equation.

I say this, not because Nancy took a poor picture. I mean, look at it. Fantastic picture — with a phone. I say this rather because this picture does not begin to do justice to what was going on out there last night. The picture is what you might call a spectacular fraction.

To the southeast, the ridge there is called Paradise Ridge. The lower layer of cloud there must have been just a few hundred feet up, and lightning was coming out of it. You can see a trace of orange here, but it was an angry orange all the way across. Above that were the gun metal clouds, and below were the slanting rays of a setting sun, lighting up the pine on Paradise Ridge from the side, competing with the lightning. Above the gun metal clouds was that white glory, and around that the blue of a summer morning sky. And then, off to the left, barely visible here, was an arrangement of powder blue clouds, a color of cloud I have never, ever seen.

In short, we were privileged to see trace elements of the coming glory.

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