Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Stormy Wednesday

Whew! I went down to the Cliff Walk today (still chasing after slow shutter speed shots of waves crashing on rocks) and ended up getting caught in a very nasty thunderstorm. Actually it was probably about three separate storms with no real lull between them. For the longest stretch of about two hours, which incorporated two of the storms, I sheltered in the tunnel under the Chinese Tea House with a group of fellow storm refugees. When it looked like it was letting up we all booked. But not long after we took off the rain came back with a vengeance, and so did the lightning and thunder. I got soaked. I also got the bejabers scared out of me when a lightning bolt went off right overhead at one point. It didn't hit anything (I suspect it was cloud to cloud lightning), but it was right overhead, the thunder was simultaneous, and there was even that electric fzzzzzt going on as it flashed and boomed. After that I hid out for another half hour on the porch of Miley Hall in Salve Regina University while more lightning flashed and more thunder boomed.

Before we look at some very dramatic (and freakin' weird) storm clouds coming on, there were some other things of note on the Cliff Walk today. First, there was a Mink walking along checking out me and a family on the other side of him (all of us clicking away), seeming to pose (he posed for me for this shot and then he turned around to pose for the people behind him) before taking flight when a jogger came pounding along.

Soon after the Mink incident I came across a patch of Dame's Rocket and just had to get a macro of some.

So before I came to the Mink and the Dame's Rocket, I rounded Ochre Point and came down towards Marine Ave. and was struck by the formation of the clouds associated by the storm I could hear coming.

Farther down the Cliff Walk, past the Beechwood, Rosecliff, and Marble House mansions and after passing under the Chinese Tea House via the tunnel, I looked up and saw this.

After passing through the tunnel under Sheep Point and looking toward Doris Duke's Rough Point mansion, this is what the sky looked like. This was looking very weird indeed! It was also looking and sounding very threatening, so I turned around to head for shelter. I considered staying in the Sheep Point tunnel, but there was just too much wind blowing through, so I headed for the tunnel under the Chinese Tea House, much bigger and more of a shelter.

So for the next two hours, this was my home. I shared it mostly with two women from New Zealand, but there were other, fleeting visitors as well. There's a drain in the tunnel, but either there was too much water coming in for it to deal with or it was clogged, because the tunnel started to flood with all the incoming water. Toward the end of those two hours the water was over the tops of my hiking boots. The Kiwi ladies and I decided the rain had let up enough (more fools we!) and we headed out into the rain.

As I said above, the storm wasn't nearly done yet, and I ended up getting the rest of me as wet as my feet got in the tunnel. But it was a Summer rain, for all the downpour, and it wasn't cold, so if it hadn't been for the lightning it would have been a pleasant walk home in the rain.

I'll leave you with this view of Rough Point before that weird lenticular cloud totally overtook the sky. I always think of Wuthering Heights when I look at the house sitting out on its point, but the sky today really made the image of Rough Point as Wuthering Heights all the more real.

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I love cloudy skies and the purple flowers are gorgeous. You're so talented.

  2. YIKES! Those are amazing clouds; I'm glad you didn't drown in the tunnel!

  3. These photos are marvelous...particularly the cloud cover...amazing!

  4. Roy! What an exciting post!!! Sounds like part of the storm system we had over the weekend. Everyone walked around the next day bleary-eyed as we had horrendous rains, thunder and lighting from 10:30p.m. to 3:15a.m.--nonstop! I had never experienced anything like it. I was lucky, however...unlike you, I was tucked up comfy in my home, not stuck in a tunnel. At least you had beautiful scenery to look at while the water filled your boots. Glad you didn't drown. Those clouds were wicked and the photographs of them amazing.

  5. I have to stop coming here. I go green every time I do. Amazing place you live in and the skies . . simply fantastic. Sadly most of our storms are very late evening or night time so really hard to get the ISO and speed right for good quality shots . . then I'd swap it all to have a conversation with a mink! Lucky you.

  6. Hi Roy! Missed this one( I blame it on all the T-storms...another this morn' )Great shots, especially the ocean-side ones :)

  7. what a magical day!! the encounter with the curious mink is most auspicious - I think you must have acquired another totem animal - I must look up mink medicine and see what "the book" says about when minks come into one's life.

    the sky photos are mind-blowing! I can't decide which I enjoy getting lost in the most!

    wow, wow, wow.

  8. Beautiful shots, but the last one was my favorite. Something about that house looks like it was hand-drawn by an artist!