When the Rain Came

When the Rain Came.

There is something about embarking on a road trip. For me, it’s about the simplicity, the motion, the transience and the chance to be right in the teeth of our landscape. I love the feeling of being anonymous moving from one place to another, through this land of ours.

I am a road trip junkie. I love just getting into my car, choosing the music, cranking it up and then being alone with my thoughts for hours. I guess it has something to do with my excruciating need for space and freedom and now that I am a busy mother of two, it has become even more vital for me to find that time.

So, when I was asked to photograph a wedding in the Karoo (I don’t usually do weddings), I said yes before I even asked where it was and a few weeks later, I found myself driving from Port Elizabeth to Nouwpoort one balmy Saturday morning.

The relentless drought had exhausted the earth and everything seemed to have retreated back into the dusty soil. The little foliage that remained seemed to be begging, praying for rain. I wondered how many times these earth folk, the farmers, looked up into the sky, looking for the signs.

The wedding began in its entire splendor. Guests arrived from far and wide and the garden celebration made a pretty picture. Everything seemed perfect.

There was no warning, no anticipation. Only the farmers knew what was coming and it was difficult not to see the relief in their eyes. The wind picked up from nowhere and within minutes, we were being swirled about, the chairs went flying, and the guests ran for cover. Within seconds, the rain, thunder and lightening came in all its glory and I witnessed one of the most spectacular storms of my life. I count it as one of my top sacred moments.

The next morning, I got up at 5am, to get back to PE and my family. And it was then, that these pictures were made. The earth had celebrated, the colours were back and the plants seem to be dancing to the aftermath of this majestic storm.

I stopped the car and started shooting, my camera being the only witness to this magnificence, and as I merged in to the elements, I thought again, how we are all merely tiny insignificant players in this bigger brilliant world.

Sandy Coffey ~ Photographic Commissions

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