A friend in Colorado had told me about this fascinating but little known town in the Rocky mountains called Crestone, that has all the world’s major faiths represented in the form of churches, monasteries, ashrams etc. There are no hotels or chain restaurants in the surrounding area. Late afternoon, we had started our nearly one hour drive to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
As I drove along a rural road, we noticed some interesting cloud formations on our right and when the road turned a sharp right we came face to face with this supercell. After a brief moment of surprise and shock, My girls said, “There you go Daddy, you have your picture”. We all got out of the car. Nayana, my younger one had a camera with her as well and we went about capturing the scene that none of us had seen in our lives before.
There was no wind or rain. Just a certain eerie calm around us. Over the next few minutes the giant supercell in front of us developed an ominous looking appendage under its belly which is in fact a baby tornado that started to grow and stretch. I have never done storm chasing before and I was not particularly interested in chasing storms. But this opportunity presented itself and I was not going to pass it up. The storm system being too big for my widest lens, I had to shoot a panorama. I did not want to waste precious time in setting up a tripod so, proceeded to shoot 18 vertical shots handheld panning from the left to right.
As I got to the end of the pan, in the camera viewfinder I caught my older daughter Anika and my wife Deepika walking towards me. At that moment, their swagger and nonchalance about the situation instantly reminded me of a Nike commercial I had seen in a magazine while waiting at my dentist’s office way back in the mid 1990s. The advertisement had a female jogger running uphill in a fierce snowstorm with the following words:
When adversity rears its repulsive head, look it in the face and say, “Adversity, kiss my warm, dry, fuzzy butt.”
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