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Watching a Storm (Monument Peak)

The towering summer clouds to our east in Summer are intriguing and so I thought: “Time to take a closer look!” and drove up to Laguna Mountains.

I first stopped at the viewpoint near Stephenson Peak (looking down into Portrero Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains, and Inner Pasture). It all looked promising, and so I drove a little further and parked at one of the Big Laguna Trail connectors along Sunrise Highway. From there, I hiked the short distance up to Monument Peak, just in time to watch a fascinating cloud formation move in over Inner Pasture.

Fascinated by the spectacle below I didn’t notice that dark clouds also began to accumulate and tower right above me – and then the rain started. I found only minimal shelter, pressed against the wall of one of the generator buildings up at the peak, and got a really good soaking. Well, now I can say that I got soaked by a thunderstorm in Southern California, in the mid of July. Not bad. :-)

I’ve played with these images for quite a while because I really wanted to present them in color, but no matter what I did, it just didn’t look right and didn’t transport the atmosphere the way I remembered it. Once more, there was no way around black & white, it captures the ragged landscape and the dramatic clouds and play of light much more adequately, and without the distraction of color.


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