Live Oak under Stormclouds

Wednesday a system coming from the southeastern Pacific moved through Southern California and brought heavy clouds and thunderstorms. I can’t remember that anything like that happened in the three previous summers since I’m in San Diego – usually, what little summer precipitation we get originates to the southeast, when some leftovers of monsoon storms make it across the mountains. This system came in from the ocean however and moved inland from the southwest, over the coastal areas. Maybe that has to do with the rumored El Nino in the making? I don’t know.

Little Toni hates thunderstorms and she was pretty freaked out after our morning walk already, when we heard the thunder rumble and growl in the distance. I packed the camera and drove out into the back country where the weather was still better, and we took an extended walk there. As the clouds moved in I kept looking for a suitable foreground subject to combine with the astonishing clouds, but my usual go-to spots (like the Cottonwood at Lake Henshaw) were all facing the wrong direction.

Instead of going back to Santa Ysabel via Highway 79 I took the unofficial “scenic bypass”, Mesa Grande Road. From there I was able to combine a Live Oak tree that had previously served as a photographic subject with the astonishing mammatus clouds. As I wandered around trying slightly different angles and focal lengths the shape and position of the clouds changed quickly. I find all three takes of the tree interesting enough to present them together as a small set.

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