My August 2014 Photo of the Month is Birthday Storm, a photograph made near Oceanside Pier north of San Diego.
Birthday Storm Background
First, I must admit something. I left the wedding of my friends early to take this photograph. I don’t think they minded. The ceremony was over and they were busy partying.
Their wedding day also doubled as my birthday. This was my birthday present. San Diego can get monsoonal weather, but we rarely get a huge storm as the one that hit us. It rained and it rained very hard. Extremely unusual for us.
That is what caused me to leave the wedding. We get great clouds and sunsets all the time. I don’t fret when I miss a great sunset. We probably have 50 outstanding sunsets a year and I have more than plenty in my image archives. The difference was: water. This was an incredibly wet storm, and the more water droplets in the air, the better sunlight reflects. This is what causes the mild yellows and oranges to turn red.
Since the wedding was in Valley Center, I knew with just enough time I had to stick to North County. I wanted to get to the Coast, but I realized I was on borrowed time. I went for the Oceanside Pier. I pulled up with only a couple minutes to spare, and one of those was spent fumbling with my credit card to get my parking space on The Strand paid for.
The clouds didn’t do a lot at sunset, and I just didn’t know what I was in for. But…this was a birthday storm. At about 5 minutes past sunset, I could see a little light starting and I was grinning ear to ear. A few minutes later, and the entire sky blew up with reds, oranges, and quickly darkening to purples.
I am immensely proud of this image. Yet, like many photographers will tell you, the photo doesn’t do the real thing justice. This was one moment where I took a step back, took a deep breath, and tried to just enjoy the moment. What I processed at home was worth it.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.