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  • Writer's pictureRebecca King

“Lightning, Milky Way, and porcupines, oh my!”

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Unpopular opinion, there’s so much more to Wyoming than YNP and the Teets. This sacred rock formation had been at the top of my “to experience list” for many years. It was July of 2019 and my goal was to take advantage of the perfect milky way recipe the weather forecasted- new moon and calm, clear skies.

When I arrived, I snagged a campsite inside the park ASAP, set up my tent and made my way up the hill to play. It felt like a thousand degrees outside so right away I chose ice cream over hiking until the temperature cooled. Before sunset I headed out to the area I knew would give me the best milky way line up, I couldn’t have been more thrilled about this spot I found. Not to mention, there wasn’t a soul around. Once blue hour began, I got to work. Then, something unexpected happened. In the distance I could see and hear faint crackling of thunder and lightning. Ugh! Within minutes the clouds took over and I was directly underneath an ominous lightning show. Normally, I would think this is pretty cool, but I was completely exposed on top of a hill, alone, and felt like I was standing next to a lightning rod, not a tripod. So, I packed up my camera, left my tripod in place and decided to wait it out. Once the storm subsided, I raced back out to my spot and started where I left off. Then, about 30 minutes later that storm was once again right on top of me. At this point I already got the shots I needed and decided to just get out of there as quick as I could.

By the time I returned to my car, it wasn’t just heavy rain, it was more like sheets of water pounding the ground. It was so intense I could barely see through my windshield as I drove down the hill to my campsite. Suddenly, I noticed a small figure in the middle of the road, it was a porcupine! My first time ever seeing one, and the prickly little dude was just chillin in the rain without a care in the world. Eventually, I got back to my campsite and had a big sigh of relief when I saw that my tent had not floated away! A crazy evening but memorable nonetheless, cheers to all you diehard photographers who also stick it out, it’s always worth it.

Exif: Canon 5D mark iv (Rokinon 14mm)

Sky 14 images- 20 sec | iso 12,800 | f2.8

Foreground- 6 sec | iso 100 | f8

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