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Into the Storm

Into the Storm
Photo Information
Copyright: Brian Hartley (akula802) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 3 N: 139] (1106)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-17
Categories: Daily Life, Nature, Transportation
Camera: Canon PowerShot SD600
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: BWCA Solo '08
Theme(s): Viewer [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-21 10:10
Viewed: 3443
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I wish I could find the words to tell the whole story behind this photograph. This was taken on the third day of my six-day solo trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), along the Canadian border in northeastern Minnesota.

The first three days were nothing but storms. Rain, sleet, ice, snow, thunder and lightning all at the same time; while the wind created whitecaps on top of whitecaps, and kicked up spray that stung the face and hands like a whip made of fire. Day and night, the storms came in waves, and made the portage trails slick and muddy. There was no relief, no matter where I traveled.

I was recovering from illness when I entered the woods, and when this photograph was taken, I was on my way back to the first portage to call it quits. I was barely able to keep food down, I was weak and sore, and being alone in a million acres of wilderness was quickly brewing up a recipe for disaster.

There is no sense in staying if it is going to be like this, I kept telling myself, and on the third day I packed up camp and began the journey home.

It took everything I had just to get to that point, to make the call to pull the plug. When I landed at the last portage, my heart was aching more than my body. I sat there for a long time waiting for some lightning to pass over, and I was torn up inside with my decision. When the lighting passed, I couldn't bring myself to go through with it.

I must have spent a few hours there pacing about, trying to decide what to do next. I knew I didn't have it in me to quit, but I was sick and alone and I could barely lift my pack to my shoulders. Finally I said "one more day," and I turned around and headed back to the north to make camp and wait out my illness for another night.

That evening, the winds went calm, and I watched the storms dissipate from the bottom up, as they do when they have sucked the last bit of energy from the atmosphere. Watching them die made me feel like I'd won, and miraculously, the next morning my illness was gone. I could eat, my strength came back to me, and I was able to push on with the next phase of my travels.

It was a day that will live in me forever, a small victory in an unforgiving land. The rest of the journey was made in good weather, and became one of the great defining moments of my entire young life.

See the travelogue for more photos from this great adventure.

tsesler, roald, wenqing, atarisphoto, Fortuna has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Nice note. We do understand the picture better after reading it.

  • Great 
  • roald Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 64 W: 57 N: 65] (773)
  • [2008-05-21 11:38]

hi brian.

without the notes, its kind of nothing special. but, damn that was a good note.



Great atmospheric picture although it coud be taken here in Scotland - the scenery is identical

Hi Brian,
what a story:)
but happiness at the end:) and this perfect capture....
it is amazing,
clarity and colours of sky, excellent perspective, superb compo....
welldone and tfs,
:) tomorrow

i like this POV brian :)
good exposure and framing


great story dude...plus you broke a 1000 points (not that that really matters)...i dig both of your canoe pics you posted but the atmosphere and story of this one wins...peace***

Very nice photo! Nothing like the Northern woods of Minnesota, looks like a nice day, great photo! ~Sam

  • Fortuna Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 3811 W: 2520 N: 16] (72)
  • [2010-03-12 15:04]

Hello Brian,

Great POV and DOF!
Nice reflections, excellent lighting!
Congratulations and TFS

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