This photograph was taken just North of Pretoria in November 2007. My family and I were visiting friends in the region and we decided to stay over for the weekend. At about half past four on Sunday morning I awoke to the distant sound of thunder. I thought I had been dreaming, but when I got up to check, sure enough an impressive storm was brewing on the horizon. In my style of landscape photography inclement weather is an absolute God send, moody skies and heavy clouds help to lower the contrast in the sky and brings interesting mood to the picture. Grabbing my camera gear I drove out into the dark, excited that I had a good chance of shooting something special. Following the path of the storm I headed south down a gravel road. The weather had moved in quickly and it was not long before hail came pelting down. I continued to drive along the dirt road waiting for the storm to blow over. Suddenly the background on the eastern horizon closed up bringing with it dark clouds and cracks of lightning…now it was all happening! I continued along the dirt road frantically searching for a composition with an interesting foreground: there are few things worse in photography than finding a mind-blowing background with no foreground to offset it against. Before long the storm headed away into the distance and, just as I thought that the moment had passed, I spotted a pathway heading down towards some cornfields. I stopped, grabbed my camera gear and rushed down the track. What happened next is the reason why I love photography so much. This fantastic vista opened before me. Foreground interest appeared in the shape of two fence pillars supported by an overgrown tuft of grass. A row of telephone poles were conveniently situated down the left of the field, helping to create a leading line that ran down into the composition and, as if God was orchestrating affairs, the clouds in the distance started to part, allowing shafts of early morning light to randomly break onto the horizon. I remember telling myself to hurry as I set up the tripod. I kept saying thank you, thank you, thank you Lord, trusting that God would miraculously slow things down a bit. I only managed to get a couple of shots off before the curtain call finally came down, on what was an incredible, albeit very short display of nature at its best. Photography for me is about experiences, magical moments and memories which are captured every now and then that form part of one’s life. These experiences can be summed up by the great photographer Henri Cartier Bresson who said “Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes”. Enjoy,

Martin Osner

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