I had to quit cold turkey. It was tough, but after I got through the initial withdrawal, I discovered there were endless subjects to shoot besides the Chattanooga riverfront as seen from the North Shore.
The toughest step of my recovery was having to go through my photos and delete about 7000 images to free up drive space. I think 5000 of those images were of the Chattanooga riverfront.
But then yesterday, I was walking in the park with Tisen. I was going to go for a bike ride afterwards, but the clouds started rolling in and, well, I skipped my ride in order to shoot. I guess we could call it a relapse.
When I started gathering up my gear, I peeked out the windows to discover a double rainbow forming in the East as the sun cruised toward the Western horizon. I rushed to find a good view and get setup, worrying that I would miss the rainbow.
As it turned out, the brightest rainbow remained visible for the entire 45 minutes I was shooting.
The second rainbow never did get very bright–it just sort of hovered on the edge of visible. It’s visible in the second image if you look closely. As much as I love seeing rainbows, I find I enjoy shooting clouds more. Perhaps because it’s difficult to get more than one perspective on a rainbow, but the clouds continually shift and create new images for you.
I’m not sure where my fascination with clouds started. When I was a child and my family went on long road trips, if there were clouds, we would amuse ourselves by finding complex and, often, outrageous shapes in them and trying to get everyone else to see what we saw.
Every time I fly, I hope for cloud cover. I love looking down on clouds–especially when there are thunderheads or other masses of clouds that look like some sort of special effect created by hollywood. Of course, when I’m in a plane, I wish they were just a special effect!
As part of studying for our hang gliding rating, we learned a little bit about clouds and how they can help predict the weather–a life and death issue if you’re a good enough hang glider pilot to stay aloft for hours (my longest flight so far was about 4 minutes–makes weather changes sort of a non-issue). We learned hang glider pilots look for big puffy cumulous clouds as a sign of thermals. From the look of things, the thermals were in full force.
I vaguely remember a dream I once had of falling through a cloud. In my dream, the cloud was soft and warm–as if it were somehow slowing my fall. It wasn’t the kind of fall that makes you wake up before you land; it was the kind of fall where you know you will bounce. Perhaps I already knew that thermals were pushing back underneath?