The other day it had been raining off and on, in dispersed with short times of sun with interesting clouds throughout the day. I thought if the sun broke through at the right time, there might be a good sunset and kept watching the weather all afternoon. A photographer friend of mine contacted me suggesting we shoot together at Jordan Lake if I were going. It didn’t look promising, but said I would call about an hour before sunset if I thought I would go. Well, at 7pm it was raining and a good sunset looked to be out of the question. But about 25 minutes before sunset, the sun was faintly visible behind the rain and I quickly looked on the radar app to see a band of showers was passing through with hopefully a bit of a clearing before the next band. If I left immediately, I might be able to make it to a nearby bridge over the lake minutes before sunset just in case; it was my only option. While driving there, looking through the trees to the east, I saw a beautiful, intense rainbow…and then there were two!! But I could only see a sliver. I hoped it would still be there when I got to the lake, but it began to rain pretty strongly again. I used the voice command capability in the car (isn’t technology great!) and called my photo friend just in case she were at the lake somewhere and found she had gone in spite of the rain, but was heading home. Luckily she was still nearby and I gave her directions to the bridge to meet there. When I arrived at the bridge and the view opened up, I could now see a brilliant complete rainbow with another faint one above. The sun was just above the horizon and I scrambled to put on a wide enough lens to capture the entire scene. I didn’t have time to throw the camera on a tripod and managed to click off a few hand-held bracket bursts just before the intensity began to diminish. Had I taken those few extra seconds to use the tripod, I would have been too late!
There were some pretty good colors in the clouds to the west as well, so I quickly got out the tripod and began photographing the western sky from the opposite side of the bridge, bracketing in hopes of using HDR software to blend them later to get the most out of the extreme range of light values. If I remember right in the blur of activity when I first arrived, I think she got there too late for the rainbow, but in time for the sunset, and we shot that while talking and trying to keep our camera lenses free from the light rain that continued.
More often than not, when I meet someone to shoot a sunrise or sunset, nothing much seems to happen, but you do have to be there in case it does. It is certainly more enjoyable when all the elements seem to come together and you have the added bonus of sharing that experience with someone else.