Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Photo of the Day: Kyle Thunderhead

Posted 31 May, 2009 at 10:44pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography)

No, I'm not reviving the Photo of the Day series (yet), but this picture was too good not to post (make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post to see the picture). I was driving home when the sun went behind this rain cloud and corpuscular rays burst out of not just the top but the sides of the storm cloud. I pulled over in the middle of town (the building on the right is the Texas Pie Company on Center Street in Kyle), rolled down my window and took the picture. To give you an idea of how small town Kyle feels - that traffic light is the only light in the downtown area. I've only found two more traffic lights in the Kyle area. (Kyle is growing very fast - one of the fastest growing towns in Texas - but for all that it's still pretty sparse with a lot of empty land around it.)
Kyle Thunderhead in Kyle
(This isn't the photo I wanted to show everyone - this is just the lead in… make sure you keep reading below.)

I was cursing the fact that the sun chose this moment to dive behind the cloud - the moment I pulled into town. A few minutes before and I would still have had a clear unobstructed view of the entire spectacle. I pulled back onto the road, waited for the light to change (always seems to take forever), drove to the edge of town and pulled over to where I would have a safe and clear view, jumped out of the car and ran over to the edge of a field and started snapping pictures. Total elapsed time from when I started to pull back into traffic and when I took my first unobstructed picture? Less than 4 minutes. That's how small Kyle is. For many people, that's probably normal. I've lived in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area for all my life, so this is new to me. There's a part of me that likes this.

Anyway, here's the picture I wanted to share. When I got to the field some of the rays were gone, but others appeared below the cloud. The sky below the cloud turned golden and the underexposed photo deepened the colors while keeping the silver lining of the clouds. If you look at the base of the cloud you can see rain. I was in awe when I was out there staring at this event. (Click for a slightly larger version.)
Kyle Thunderhead
Handheld, 1/200 sec at f/7.1 on ISO 200, 17-35mm f/2.8 lens with 2-stop ND graduated filter

5 comments to Photo of the Day: Kyle Thunderhead

erin, June 1st, 2009 at 5:40 am:

  • absolutely beautiful!!

Ketan Bhat, June 1st, 2009 at 8:56 am:

  • Great photo!

    Have you tried HDR?

Michael Chu, June 1st, 2009 at 10:21 am:

  • I played with HDR when I was working in the Graphics Lab at Intel, but not since. This would have been a perfect candidate - I'll have to keep a tripod in the back of my car from now on. Unfortunately, my tripods are all still packed and we're not going to unpack until we move again in October.

Nate, June 2nd, 2009 at 11:55 pm:

  • Whoa. nice!

    Did you do something with the foreground in post processing?

Michael Chu, June 3rd, 2009 at 12:29 am:

  • Just did a little exposure adjustment in post - but mainly the graduated filter took care of the foreground.