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Edition #163, December 1, 2011

White Light, White Heat

Photographer: Lance Wales

                                                                            Photo by Lance Wales

White Light, White Heat

                                                                                                                                                    Afternoon heat builds, clouds form;
                                                                                                                                                    Thunderheads grow.

                                                                                                                                                    Watch the radar, storm cells appear;
                                                                                                                                                    A photo opportunity?

                                                                                                                                                    An hour drive, taking a chance;
                                                                                                                                                    Storm front converges.

                                                                                                                                          Severe Thunderstorm Warning, no place to hide;
                                                                                                                                          Gust front with heavy rain.

                                                                                                                                                    Lightning all around, wind too strong;
                                                                                                                                                    More than I bargained for.

                                                                                                                                                    BNSF Mendota Sub., Earlville, IL;
                                                                                                                                                    Double track main with lineside poles.

                                                                                                            B&Q Searchlight Signals, inplace since the 1940s;
                                                                                                            Living on borrowed time.

                                                                                                                                                    Shooting from inside the van, staying low;
                                                                                                                                                    Trying to keep the camera dry.

                                                                                                                                                    Wide angle view, lightning too far away;
                                                                                                                                                    Hoping for a closer bolt.

                                                                                                                                                    Intense light, instant thunder crack;
                                                                                                                                                    Sensory overload.

                                                                                                                                                    Close the shutter, chimp the screen;
                                                                                                                                                    Hair on the back of my neck standing straight up.

                                                                                                                                                    Capture the scene, the prize is mine;
                                                                                                                                                    Thunder still rolling as I laugh.

                                                                                                                                                    White light, white heat;
                                                                                                                                                    50 thousand degrees of ionized sky.

                                                                                                                                                    Next bolt strikes too close, time to leave;
                                                                                                                                                    High risk yields high reward.

                                                                                                                                                    Drive home with a victory cigar;
                                                                                                                                                    Summer Evening, Summer Storm.

                                                                                                                                                    Lance Wales


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