About The Image - "Purple Haze"


     During my travels in search of epic moments in nature, I have had some crazy experiences with weather, animals, and people, ranging from bear attacks to hypothermia. A certainty of danger comes along with being out in the elements on a consistent basis, but this was one of the closer, near death experiences I have had while shooting photographs.

     Earlier this day we had been canyoneering in the Blue Mountains. We saw some epic waterfalls and narrow gorges and all kinds of mossy, green goodness. It was a beautiful sunny day, but as we finished, a cold wind starting blowing in all around us. We got out of the canyons and made it back to the top of the treeline. We decided to come check out this lookout point but the weather wasn't looking too great for a sunset, so we headed back to the house we were staying at and rested for a bit.

     As it it got later and later the storm kept getting closer and it was getting darker and darker all around us. Then, we heard a crack of thunder! We all grabbed our cameras and rushed into the car and headed back to this lookout point. It started pouring rain so we found shelter under a small overhang and sat watching lightning bolts strike all across the canyon. Whenever the rain would let up a bit, we would run out and huddle under an umbrella and try to get as many shots as we could, then once it started blowing sideways and getting us all wet, we would retreat back to the overhang. During one of these attempts to shoot the scene, we felt the umbrella vibrate and heard a sizzling, crackling noise from the top of it as a bolt struck in front of us.   

We couldn't believe what had just happened. The umbrella had been hit! This was insane! The storm got thicker and thicker and epic sunlight began to break

through the clouds, I knew this wouldn't last and my chance to get the shot was now! We ran out to the edge of the canyon with our cameras again, huddled under the umbrella. It got shocked again! And again! After it was hit several times, we decided it was smart to retreat back under the overhang.

I remember thinking how stupid we were, and how we were for sure going to get struck by lightning and maybe die, but something inside me wanted to stay there and keep watching this insane storm pass through. It was just too amazing not to stay and see. The rain finally let up a bit and I was able to run back out to the edge of the canyon and get this shot as seen here, with the fog all over the treeline and the amazing light hitting all of the moisture and rain in the air.

     It seemed like the storm was over, until suddenly, I felt all the hairs on my body stand up, I heard a sizzling, crackling noise coming from my head, I felt a heat pass through my body from my head to my feet and then a strong jolt shook my bones, then I heard a loud 'CRACK' and a blinding white light was all around me. At that point I decided I was done shooting and wouldn't push my luck anymore. Getting struck by lightning was no longer a possibility, it had actually happened, and it could very well happen again, but this time not letting me walk away from it. I went back under the small shelter and watched as the storm finished passing through. The light faded away and a huge wall of fog passed through us and then lifted up into the air with surprising speed. It was such an amazing evening, definitely one of the craziest sunsets I've ever seen.

     While I wasn't able to capture any of the lightning bolts in this image, I am still happy with the scene I was able to bring back and share. This was some incredibly unique light and fog I have yet to see in images from this location. Shooting the image was really fun, and an absolute rush, but just being there, feeling the cold wind on my face and seeing the lightning strike just a couple hundred meters in front of us, was an unforgettable, humbling experience that will stay with me forever. Be safe out there my friends.

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