Being the photo intern, my goal is to try new things, make cool pictures I’ve never made before and ideally, avoid dying in the process.
Hailing from the rocky and temperate Oregon coast, lightning storms aren’t something I’m too familiar with so when the recent thunderstorms made their way through Hutchinson I saw it as an opportunity to check off number one and two on my intern goals checklist. The third goal, however, I was a bit uneasy about. To ease my fears of death by lightning strike, I enlisted the help of fellow photographer Travis Morrisee and after we got off of work, we headed out west of town towards the ominous booms and flashes in the distance with our cameras and tripods in tow.
Seeing as everyone from Kansas has seen about a million and two lighting storms by the time they’re walking upright, all Travis could do was laugh as I slowly deflated like an old balloon while setting up my camera. With every flash my body edged nearer and nearer to the ground, my brain scraped together everything I’d learned about lightning in grade school, clinging to the idea that the taller the object the greater the chance of a strike. Travis just laughed but even though I felt incredibly silly, I reminded myself that I was still standing (well, practically laying by this point) in the middle of a field with a metal object during a lightning storm. This is the stuff Darwin Awards are made of, after all.
Throughout all this, I surprisingly managed to make some pictures. And while they weren’t as successful as I would have hoped, I couldn’t help but be reminded why I love photography (after I was safely back in the car, of course). Photography is a mask I can wear through fear, sadness, grief, happiness, or whatever comes my way. That no matter what I’m feeling, I can count on the joy of documenting outweighing my fear of freak electrocution by the sky.