Cable Beach Storm: About the image

It was late afternoon in February and I was on Roebuck plains trying to find an interesting composition of the storm that was enveloping Broome. Looking up it was hard to find much drama or scale since the clouds were mostly spread out across the sky in one mass vortex with sporardic tentacles of rain. I took a self-timed selfie to start the photographic process while illustrating some of the dramatic lighting and clouds.


When the first drops of rain landed, moments after this was taken, I knew that the photographic opportunity was gone. I walked quickly back to the car getting wetter with every step as the rains fell harder, disappointed that I didn't get out there sooner. However, driving home and heading west I did see the vaguest break in the clouds and figured it would be worth heading to Cable beach, just to see what the conditions were like. Broome is a small town but it never fails to surprise me how different weather can be a few minutes drive from one area to the next.


Five minutes later I was walking the 50metres up to the surf club and I could sense the opportunity. Sometimes there is a moment; a palpable suspicion of photographic potential and that was lingering in air. The first thing that I noticed was the contrast of light between the foreground and background. Then there was this calm, awe filled silence that was intermittently broken by the flash of lightening and deep rumble of thunder on the horizon as people faced west.


But with the sun already below the horizon I knew I didn’t have long to capture something interesting. I wanted to make the couple in the foreground, who were taking photos, the focus of the shot. Then it was a case of shoot, recompose and hone in on the composition. I did take a lot because I tried, unsuccessfully, to land a lightening bolt.

I never knew what I had until about five months later when I reviewed the files. I came away from the afternoon annoyed because I felt I left it all too late.  Also I tend not to look and edit the photos until months later. Time passes and objectivity replaces emotional attachment to an image, which in my experience is vital when reviewing and selecting your own work. Now, not only am I really happy with the photo as in ties in with many ideas I have about technology and our relationship to the environment, but it was awarded the photographic prize in for Shinju Matsuri, Broome's annual cultural festival, where the judges said:


'We thought the artist created an image that went beyond a mere photo. The photo is glamorous in its presentation of light, landscape and individuals.'


And I also managed to get into Capture Magazine's 'The Annual' with this photograph, which is Australia's leading publication for pro-photographers. I think it is one of my strongest images to date and there is a line of enquiry that I am pursueing further with this.