April 09, 2015

Chasing Photo Opportunities

Photo by Toni Tona

My husband has been snapping photos of this tree on Millville Plains for about 20 years. Most photographers in the area call it "Frank's Tree" and have started gathering at the spot for sunrises and sunsets, lightening and moon rises.

Our Easter picnic was snatched from us by thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour a half hour before the picnic was to begin....'best laid plans'!  We watched the storm though until about 6:00 when we saw the clouds breaking up. My husband ran into the house, "Grab your camera, I think this is going to be good!"

We dropped Easter baskets off to two of our granddaughters then bee-lined it to Millville Plains. As we turned the last curve before 'his' tree we spotted six vehicles, six tripods and cameras and six shivering photographers standing behind their cameras! 

"Hey, Frank!" everyone yelled. "We were wondering if you'd show up!"

"Did you bring a Lightening Detector?"

"Two are expected at the store tomorrow!"

A chorus of boos was accompanied by smiles and laughter.

I usually jump out of the car and take my share of photos but this group of photographers clearly intimidated me.  They are some of the best on the west coast. I stayed in the car reading my Kindle, observing the sky with an occasional head swivel.

The sky was dramatic. The thunder and lightening did not disappoint. Every now and then I would jump out of the car and snap a photo or two, then jump back in out of the wind (and competition).
I did capture the photo above but it is definitely sub-par from the photos the camera jocks posted the next day; my husband's being the best (in my humble opinion).

Wednesday was the first day the storm was expected to break up. Frank was chomping at the bit to get a fresh-snow-on-Lassen pic. We checked the weather and road conditions for Lassen Park. Roads clear, temperature 29 degrees! 

We packed up the cameras, lenses, tripods, gloves, hats, blankets and  Chex Mix (Bold) to nourish us in case we get snowed in!

The beauty of the park was amazing. Fresh snow everywhere; only our footprints on the paths around Manzanita Lake. I stopped at my favorite spot and Frank hiked a half mile past me. We snapped pictures and waited patiently for the clouds to clear around Lassen Peak.

This was the last photo I took just before the mountain momentarily cleared. As the final clouds begin to clear, a huge bald eagle flew above me. It soared across the lake and circled several times, then flew off.

I stood with my camera at my side, mesmerized. No photo of eagle, no photo of cleared mountain top, no reflection of cleared peak in the lake...but the majesty of the eagles flight was worth it.

Photo by Toni Tona


  1. Incredible pics - how cool! Michael

  2. Your photos are breathtaking!! I can't imagine how many incredible photographs you have between you and uncle Frank! And I really like the way you write, it feels like a nice friendly story. :)


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