After the Storm

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After the StormOften the best photographs appear to you when the weather conditions are discouraging. On this stormy spring afternoon I had a sense that the strong winds and very dark skies would break open to reveal some magic light conditions. The rain was coming down hard as I drove a sleepy country road that borders Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA. I’d experienced weather like this in the Rocky Mountains, when the air feels dry and light in spite of heavy precipitation, and there’s a clear view of the landscape in the far distance. On this day I endured the classic afternoon thunderstorm in the mountains, yet I was in the lowlands of Eastern Massachusetts. It was still raining hard as the sun broke through the clouds and I said to myself, “There’s going to be a rainbow.” As I pulled into the gravel parking lot that accesses the rolling pastures of the farm, a perfect double rainbow appeared.

Rainbow Over Appleton Farms

The light changed very quickly so I set my Nikon D300 to bracket exposures with a 5 stop range. I opened the car window enough shoot between the raindrops and swabbed water off the lens. Double Rainbow Over Appleton FarmsAlthough I was thrilled to see the double rainbow, the resulting photo of the entire expanse of the arch was not as satisfying as the frame which shows just a portion of the spectrum.

When the downpour halted, I jumped out of the car, grabbed a tripod from the trunk, and walked quickly across the pasture I have traversed so many times. This soothing landscape of fields divided by stone walls and lines of maples and oaks, is the terrain of old New England, two or three hundred years ago.

The camera was on my default white balance setting of daylight. Using auto, or cloudy would have neutralized the wonderful warm tones. The Nikon daylight setting is 5000K, which I later adjusted to 5500K in Adobe Lightroom. This gave me roughly the same effect that would have been rendered with an 81A or 81B warming filter back in the days of film.

About 45 minutes passed, the clouds covered the setting sun, the showers resumed, and I headed home with some special images.

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