Summer Rain: Critical Distance Blog Post
© 2018 Mark Maio
Critical Distance Blog Post
Atlanta summers follow a predictable cycle: muggy mornings, sweltering afternoons and stormy evenings, especially during July and August. As I try to forget the heat and humidity, the one thing I love about summers in Georgia is the possibilities of afternoon thunderstorms and the beautiful cloud formations that accompany them.
I constantly watch the weather and have spent a number of late afternoons photographing as the clouds move overhead. When I am at home I have the choice of my usual cameras and as I drive around town, I make it a point to have one of them along with me.
A few weeks ago we spent the weekend working in our yard. I made a number of trips to the local Home Depot, and late in the afternoon I headed out to make the final trip of the day. As I exited the store, I couldn't help but notice two weather systems slowing moving across the sky towards one another. The Home Depot is located at the end of a quarter-mile long shopping center with stores ringing the perimeter of hundreds of parking spots: the perfect place for observing and photographing the sky.
Most photographers have been asked the question regarding which is the best camera. For me, the answer has always been the one that I have with me. In this case, it was my Apple iPhone 8+. Recently I had purchased the app Manual, which allows the capture of images in RAW format on the iPhone. Setting the camera to its telephoto lens, I quickly made a series of multi-frame vertical panoramic images as the two weather fronts converged. Within ten minutes, the rain was coming down in buckets.
I subsequently imported the images into Adobe Lightroom® and after selecting two of these panoramic frames, I merged them and applied my usual black and white conversion workflow. Upon adjusting the Lightroom® develop settings, the image I had previsualized in the parking lot appeared on my monitor.
Watching the digital file I captured using my smartphone transformed into the final form you see here, I found myself thinking about Ansel Adams. In the early 1980s, he made a prediction about the future of photography being an electronic image. I wonder if he could have imagined most of us having the ability to make images like this with a device that's so portable and easy to use.
I'm excited to see what's next.