I have photographed dozens of storms with waves as big as or bigger than those I shot during this February 1995 storm, but this image remains one of my favorite storm images because of the wave’s shape, position in relationship to the Ludington lighthouse, position of the seagulls and drama created by the storm light. I consider this image “perfectly poetic.” As my Grandma Reed liked to say about her small but precisely designed and tastefully decorated home: “There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.” I made dozens of exposures on Fuji Velvia film this day, none so perfectly poetic as this one. My youngest son, Willie, and I watched this February storm for hours, capturing photographic moments during lulls in the blizzard. As sunset neared, I prayed for storm light. If this magic light arrived, it would appear shortly before sunset, and only if the sun could find its way through, or beneath, a band of boiling clouds skirting the distant horizon. It is a photographer’s game of hide-and-seek I have played with the sun and clouds thousands of times. I love winning, but experience has taught me that I am more likely to lose or at least not win big. This time, as I had envisioned, sunlight broke from beneath the clouds, backlighting the waves and the lighthouse. Rewarded by the knowledge of what could happen and by perseverance, Willie and I were oblivious to the gale winds pummeling us as we witnessed the magic light and lake’s fury come together against the storm cloud backdrop.

White Squall

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