Mt Putnik Storm
Out shooting with a friend in kananaskis in late October 2018 we were chasing the predicted 'scattered snow showers' which turned out to be more permanent than scattered . We had parked at the north end of the huge upper lake and walked the shoreline hoping to find some images of burst light through the showers. But as I said, the showers were not showers at all and the light was very poor throughout the day. Wind howled across the lake whipping up snow and driving at us relentlessly but we stuck it out and made a few images after a long hike. We know that mountain storms can break at any time and getting yourself into position to make the shot is what matters when they do.
We had made a few images and spent several hours in the snow squalls before deciding to call it a day and start back to the car park, the storm wasn't moving and the skies were horrible. With cameras packed away in the rucksacks and a long hike ahead we trudged back along the trail. As we did so, a small shaft of light burst out from behind Mt Lyautey and illuminated the snow on the flanks of Mt Putnik. From our position it wasn't going to be a great shot but we had just passed a small island in the lake that was dotted with dead trees, I knew if we could get back and position ourselves so those trees were between us and the mountain we had a great shot in the making.
I called out to my friend and we turned and hurried back toward the island. As we made our way I was taking off the backpack and digging around for the 70-200 mm knowing it was the right lens for the job. The tension as we hurried back and tried to get set up and 'dialed in' before the gap in the clouds closed was intense. I got just two clean shots, the first had a couple of composition issues and I quickly changed angle and shot again resulting in this image. Almost immediately after the shot the gap closed, it closed so quickly that my friend missed it and didn't get the shot at all.
The image really did save the day as there had been scant reward for our efforts from the preceding hours. Even now I feel the pangs of guilt that I managed to make such a nice image and my friend missed out by a split second. He'd put in a shift that day, walking the distance with gear in tow, howling wind in our faces and ice cold hands, struggling to find that one shot that makes the day worthwhile.
So, was I lucky? I don't think so. We were out there in poor conditions, we had carried the gear and put up with the misery in pursuit of the image, when everything was packed away and the trudge home started we turned back, scooted along the trail and found the location and settings to make the shot so no, I don't think I was lucky....but I know for sure my friend was unlucky on this one.