I am drawn to weather mayhem like a moth is attracted to a 60 watt light bulb. Give me a storm with bad roads and impossible odds and I will try my best to get an image that illustrates the story of the day.
I have to admit though, I despise wet weather. I am a hot weather guy. A 100 degree day is what I live for; my wife thinks I’ve spent way too much time in the sun. I’m pretty certain that I do.
So when our summer abruptly ended on Tuesday morning, I was forced to put my bright yellow NOMEX fire gear in storage for the season and pull out the rain gear. UGH.
It’s not the getting drenched part I hate. Really. It’s like taking a shower with your clothes on.
No, it’s keeping the equipment dry that becomes the obstacle. I’ve tried everything. Plastic bags. Camera covers. Towels. Umbrellas. When I worked in Texas, I actually shot a football game with three plastic garbage bags taped to my clothes and over the cameras.
That experiment went horribly wrong and looked stupidly geeky.
With trepidation and enthusiasm (can that really be?), I headed out to get a shot of Highway 101 which was mess. I got my overall shot from the Fulton Road overpass looking south. Of course, the wind and rain was screaming in from the same direction… so naturally, my lens baggies (ziplock bags) were blowing hither and yon over the lens and generally adding to my frusrtration while attempting to make a decent picture. After about five minutes, I was drenched from head to toe. My glasses were all fogged up and my left bootlace became untied. Needless to say, I didn’t feel all that boffo.
Highway 101 looking south toward Santa Rosa from the Fulton Road over crossing (By Kent Porter, Press Democrat)
Highway 101 just north of Airport Blvd. (By Kent Porter, Press Democrat)
I did get some okay pictures from my car though, while driving in bumper to bumper traffic near Airport Blvd., by shooting with the camera in my left hand and driving with my right. In fact, the photo ran six columns the next day. I also tried to get a picture of the gentleman who got stranded on an island in the middle of Rohnert Park’s Copeland Creek. That was a bust. Not only that, my 16-35mm zoom broke off at the camera mount. I sure wasn’t going to win the lottery.
Back on 101, a guy from a construction crew asked if my camera was waterproof. No, I said. He just laughed.
After that, it was a quick trip to Coddingtown where ceilings were leaking. The Village Sewing Center employees were nonplussed about their store and the many garbage can buckets placed here and there to catch rain water, drooling from the store’s ceiling.
Once finished, I hopped in to my vehicle and heard a call for a tree in to a home on Fitch Mountain. In a quick 25 minutes I was on Redwood Drive and found an oak tree making a mess of a house. Luckily no one was at home and nobody got hurt. Just a headache for the owners. Sigh, the storm season is just beginning.
An oak tree on top of a home at the base of Fitch Mountain in Healdsburg. (By Kent Porter, Press Democrat)
By the end of the day, My boots were full of water, my left leg was caked in mud (I fell) , my camera viewfinders were fogged up and my Crushers cap had shrunk to a size six.
It’s my lucky cap too.