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Texas USA

Moments in Time

Stopping time on film in West Texas

That is what I love about still photography. Human experience in a unique place, a particular spot with a certain light reflecting from it into our eyes. Capturing that split second and freezing that moment is what I love to do. This image happened this way:

The day had been mostly cloudy, and we were arriving in West Texas at the height of the rainy season. As always, we did not know exactly what to expect with the weather and were prepared for any situation. One of the most exciting and frustrating things about being a location shooter is this ever-changing weather variable. The Big Bend receives up to 80 percent of its rainfall in August, and we were arriving just in time to possibly experience a Big Bend monsoon storm, which can break up as fast as it forms. The light show that usually follows the abundant moisture that drops from the clouds is often spectacular and unique.

I believe that as a professional photographer I should always be prepared for these moments as if they would never happen again. We pulled into Marathon for a good night’s rest at the Gage Hotel, ready to take a break and prepare for the next four days of shooting in the Chisos Mountains. Just seconds prior to nightfall the sun peeked at us, bathing the scene with a red, orange and purple beauty. My assistant and I captured 15 images in less than 3 seconds and then the light was gone. Immediately we downloaded the images to find one perfectly focused, composed and exposed image.

It was a moment in time conveying a place and time in a way that will never be again. Light landing on life.

For more images of this shoot you can visit and see the Green Desert portfolio.

Woody Welch is an award-winning photographer based in Austin.