This was easily one of the toughest photos I’ve ever created.
It was taken one cold, rainy morning in Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore along Lake Superior - Mosquito Beach to be exact.
I had backpacked in and set up camp to facilitate shooting late into the evening and right at dawn. The evening before saw 15 foot waves, stormy skies, blistering winds, and lots of rain – and yours truly getting a little too wet from the waves (not good in the backcountry – even if you’re only a few miles from the car). I hunkered down in my tent after the evening’s shoot wondering if I was out of my mind for being here.
As dawn approached, I broke from the relative comfort of my sleeping bag and ventured out to the beach. As I rounded the corner, I was greeted by what had to be 25 – 30 MPH winds. The waves were amazingly intense with the stiff wind keeping the 15 – 20 footers coming on strong. As the larger ones broke, you were treated to a brief flash of brilliant blue water before it all turned to boiling white.
I ventured around a little and noticed the sky was looking pretty wild. One spot in particular caught my attention – I just loved what was happening with the rain, clouds, and little bit of sun struggling to peek through. Of course, just as I started shooting the rain decided to make another appearance. I would only manage a few shots before the lens needed wiped off, but man, what a sky!
Then it REALLY got interesting.
As I was standing there, first a single rainbow – then a double - materialized before my eyes. The crazy part? I never moved the camera for them (remember, I was already shooting the sky). It was like God above thought they would look good in the composition and placed them in the perfect spot! I’ve never experienced anything like it.
The shot refused to be captured easily though. The rain had picked up by now and it was surreal watching the rainbow march steadily toward me over the water. I knew I didn’t have much time and the amped up intensity of rain forced me to wipe down the glass between each shot. In fact, I only had seconds for the shot before the lens was spotted again. It was shoot, wipe, shoot, wipe, shoot, wipe for about a dozen frames.
It wasn’t long before the clouds again swallowed the sun and I was left standing there under grey skies, soaking wet, water dripping from my lens, and with a big stupid grin that must have stretched from ear to ear!