So why do people become photographers? I am sure there are so many reasons..general interest, passion, adventure, financial reasons...I have always been interested in photography, but have never put any effort into it. Ya I bought a camera years ago but all it did was collect dust, an ordainment that sat in the office.
My life hasn't always been peachy. Dealing with personal turmoil, a failed marriage and financial difficulties, life wasn't looking that great most of the time. It came to me that I should start taking pictures more often...you know why not..nobody holding me back anymore. This is the time to explore and try new things while I can..to live life!
Being an outdoors man with a passion for camping, my girlfriend and I would spend a lot of our spare time camping out at Buffalo Pound. Her great Aunt has a place in South Lake with huge lot full of trees and closure, a perfect place to put the RV and just get away from the city for awhile. I used to camp at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park a lot of the time, so being in this area was fairly new to me. On the drive from Moose Jaw, I could see this old faded barn off in the distance from the highway. All by itself, no trees, no nothing..just surrounded by field. It was my interest in that barn that evoked my desire to go out and take a few pictures of it.
It was a warm June afternoon in 2015 when I decided to finally take my "gear" with me out to the lake. I dropped off my girlfriend at the trailer, gave her a kiss, and told her I'll be back right away. She was going to make us something to eat, so you know I wouldn't be that long. From there I drove up the hill and turned left on an old beaten dirt road I "assumed" took me to the barn, and it did.
So it was a beautiful warm and clear day, and there I was walking out to take some pictures of this barn. It's an amazing old structure and I was glad I made my way out there. After about say 30 minutes, I could see a storm in the far west rolling in and initially thought I would leave soon to go eat. As the storm got closer, I began to turn the camera on the tripod to focus it on that instead. Then I get a message on my phone from a colleague at work saying "did you hear there is a storm approaching. You should go take some pictures of it". So I eagerly responded with a selfie with me, the camera in the field on the tripod, and the storm clouds in the nearing distance.
As the storm got closer and closer I could start making out that there was indeed shelf clouds! Oooohh this was an exciting first! I caught myself laughing out loud in excitement. I am actually going to able to get some cool shots of this..let's hope I have the camera settings correct.
As the storm got closer, I could feel the temperature change dramatically. No wind but just a rapid cool. Then I get a message from my girlfriend "Supper is ready hunny!". LOL it's going to have to wait, things are starting to get good here!
A slight breeze could be felt as the clouds slowly rolled in. I took as many pictures as I could and walked further away from my truck, which turned out to be a bad idea :). The excitement soon was replaced with concern as I could see twisting winds isolated in an area at least a kilometer away. I didn't think it was a twister at first. But as it got closer it was evident what it actually was...yup a small little twister. It picked up speed quickly and the next thing I know, it was very close to the barn, and that is when all hell broke out.
The winds suddenly picked up violently and I had nowhere to hide. I ended up too far from my truck for it's possible safety. No ditch and nowhere to hide, I began worrying about my safety. My excitement was now fear! Ya I have been in storms and high winds before, but never this close to a tornado!
So I high tailed it to the truck and of course, it was directly in the twisters path. The winds got so strong that I had to run into it just to stay vertical. The sand and dirt pelleted my face and the pain was unbearable. But I ran and ran hard, thinking about what would happen if I was flown off. I wasn't ready to die! I had so much to live for..but I ran and did what I could. I pushed and struggled my way, not being able to see a thing..I just knew the truck was in that direction. As I dragged the camera and tripod on my side, I held my one arm over my face and ran, but it never felt like I was getting anywhere. It just felt like I was running on the spot. Then, like from out of nowhere, I got to the truck but it wasn't until I got there did the winds suddenly stop and the twister passed me. I quickly jumped into the truck and just threw the camera on the passenger seat in relief.
This moment in my life was very exciting for me and a turning point in my life. Some may say it wasn't safe and I should have gone back long ago. Yup, your probably right! Remember I was just going to take pictures of a barn so this was all so unexpected. But the reality of it is that I am ok...thankfully.
But since then, that moment of excitement and fear, caused me to really think about my life and the direction it was heading. I now look at that storm differently. To me, that storm was a symbol of the pain and suffering I was personally going through. As the clouds passed and the skies cleared once again, I began to think about how this applied to my life.
Since this monumental moment in my life, I have decided to use photography as a means to help others who may also have personal pain and suffering in their lives. To use photography as a form of therapy in a sense. As a nurse, photography suprisingly seems to go hand in hand.