Congratulations to Richard Ansley for winning the recent Sense of Place Assignment with the image, “Gunsight Rainbows.”
“December often brings active winter storms to the intermountain region, and Utah gets its share, often resulting in heavy snow in the north and rapidly moving rain and clouds in the south. Always with an eye to the weather, I observed a large storm pattern approaching the area and decided this was a good time to try and catch some of this activity in one of my favorite areas to photograph: the borderlands region where Utah shares its southern border with Arizona near the town of Page.
“Although I had driven the long and winding 4×4 roads to Alstrom Point on several occasions in the past, I had never managed to come away with an acceptable image, but over the years I have learned that numerous visits to the same location are often necessary. My last attempt to drive to this area was cut short by a summer monsoon storm that wiped out the road, and although repairs had been made and the road was passable, my concerns now were that I could get cut off by the heavy rains predicted for this area. As it turned out, I was just on the leading edge of the storm, and when I arrived at the shooting location, the strong winds that precede most western storms were raging.
“I set up my tripod as low as possible and added some stability with rocks in my ballast bag. I waited as long as I dared, as blowing rain from the north was just starting and the sun was near the western horizon—a perfect recipe for a vertical rainbow! But then, just as I was about to pack it up, another more delicate rainbow appeared and I knew I had the shot that I wanted. The anxious drive back to the highway as the heavy rain pelted my windshield was tempered by the fact that another lesson in persistence had paid its reward.”