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A red rectangular outline on the radar image in my hand held map indicated a large storm was moving up from Nebraska to cross the Missouri River into South Dakota. I beat it to the look out point above Mulberry Bend, hastily set up my tripod as an ominous wall cloud bore down on me. With one hand trying to steady the camera and tripod, I set my exposure for 4 seconds (too dark!), then 6 (still too dark!!) .. then finally 10 as I watched trees a quarter mile away start to sway and snap under the sweeping rain and wind. I was counting those ten seconds in my head, holding my breath, praying I beat it out of there before it crossed the river to where I was. I heard the “click”… grabbed the tripod and camera and threw it in the front seat without looking at the image… the legs of the tripod sticking out my still open driver’s side window as I headed down highway 12 away from the storm. Gravel and branches swirled on the road in front of me as hard large rain drops pelted my windshield. That red rectangle shape was a tornado warning area and I was in the center of it trying to make my way out fast! The next day I saw the trees that had been uprooted by powerful straight winds. The tornado never materialized but the image I got with the lightening exploding the clouds with color, and the swaying grass and moving sheet of water coming across the river painted a sublime scene during those tense ten seconds!

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landscape, weather, river, nebraska, vermillion, south dakota, dawne olson, missouri river, storm, water

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