I think that if I lived in Hurricane Alley, I'd be a storm chaser.
We don't often get such dramatic weather in the Ottawa Valley. Sure, we see some dramatic clouds from time to time and we can have some awesome sunsets and sunrises, but nothing that you can really chase.
I look for weather phenomena, and I grab my camera when I can. Twice, this year, I've headed out at night, in search of the Aurora Borealis. One was predicted, this week, and so I got in my car after dark and headed out of town, away from the lights.
I headed to the Québec side of the Ottawa River; this time, pointing my car northwest, where the river bends northward, and the land between the river and the Gatineau Hills is wide open. I was considering going as far as Luskville, or possibly beyond, but as I drove I scanned the skies, and I realized that there would be no Northern Lights for me that evening.
Looking west, I could see the reflection of lights along the water. There was a soft glow of Kanata. And there were countless stars above me.
I pulled onto a side road and worked my way to a small, dimly lit residential area. I parked my car in pitch black, where the road ended and sand came to meet my tires. Another 10 feet and I would have driven straight into the Ottawa River.
In the dark, my eyes began to grow accustomed to my surroundings. I could hear geese and other water fowl in the waters ahead of me, but I couldn't see them. The only other sounds were the insects, not yet dormant for this late-summerlike weather, the wind through the long grass, and the occasional airplane overhead—both the commercial airliners, high above, and some small, private planes, circling low.
The Northern Lights were not on the menu this evening, but there was the glow of Kanata, the reflections off the river, and the stars.
After some minutes of shooting the waterline and sky, I backed up off this beach and down the narrow road that got me there, and found my way back to the highway. Again, I continued northwest.
Breckenridge was about the farthest that I was prepared to go. One more time, I turned into a darkened neighbourhood and drove as close as I could get to the river. This road ended with a rise of bushes where I could not see the river beyond. In the dark, I wasn't prepared to explore any more. One house stood close by, a lone light over its garage alit.
Perspective for the next series of shots.
I didn't stay long. The neighbourhood was dark, as though folks were already asleep, and this time, the only sound I heard was that of a coyote, howling, not too far away.
Perhaps he was enjoying the starry sky, too?