South Mountain At Dobbins Lookout - October 2, 2016

I was up and going extra early this morning. I woke up around 3:30am, made some coffee, grabbed my gear, and hit the road. I headed down to South Mountain Park to catch another sunrise. (I don’t know what it is about that mountain but it always seems to call out to me. It feels like home, if that makes sense, and it always seems like a good place to start the day.) The park was just opening when I got there and it was still pitch black outside. I slowly drove my way up the winding roads and reached my destination at the top (which is, of course, Dobbins Lookout). I hung out for awhile, hiked around and waited for the sun to come up. There were a few other people milling around - also waiting to see a spectacular sunrise I supposed - and it was just as quiet as can be. After about an hour the sun came up and I made a few snaps. I walked around some more, set up my tripod, and snapped a few more shots, but, sad to say, came up empty on any spectacular sunrise photographs. I thought, “Oh, well, maybe next time,” and I headed back down the hill. I reached the bottom and was headed for the exit when I looked up and noticed an incredible looking storm cloud that had just rolled in. I could hardly believe my eyes! I quickly made a u-turn, hit the gas, and raced back up to Dobbins Lookout. I parked my car, grabbed my camera and jumped up on top of the big concrete compass that sits at the peak. Everything up there had changed so dramatically in just fifteen minutes. It was incredible! There were all kinds of storm clouds, the wind was blowing hard, and dust and trash were flying all around the place. I stood up on my perch and had to fight the wind for my balance but was able to finally snap off a few exposures. After a few more minutes the wind became too much and the rain rolled in so I had to get to safety inside my car. But, wow, what a journey! What began as an unsuccessful attempt to capture a sunrise suddenly turned into an amazing opportunity to capture an incredible storm cloud rolling in over the west valley. I must say it was quite spectacular. I’d never seen one like it in person before and I’m sure glad I turned my car around. It was definitely worth a second trip back up.

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