catching rain...

At home on the farmstead; with water catchment system.

My visit to Wonougba in April coincided with darkening skies and a promise of the rain desperately needed to soften the sun-parched, rock hard soil for the maize planting.

A few drops did arrive and more would fall in the coming days. Perhaps it was just lucky, or perhaps my presence really did help. (Maybe I yet carry some rain in my heart, leftover from all those misty years in Oregon...)

When I first saw this negative on the light table, I wasn't thinking about the weather. I thought the image had been spoiled somehow. The streaky blurs seemed like a light leak, camera malfunction, or development error. You learn to expect such disappointments in this game, all too common with photosensitive materials and vintage equipment.

Only after scanning did I understand and remember: the streaks on the film were really the light trail of raindrops in transit!

For those inclined to scientific method, here is a little maths: The terminal velocity of a raindrop is about 9m/s. Given a shutter duration of 1/60th of a second, a raindrop would trace a path about 15cm (6in) long. And that is exactly what may be seen in this moment recorded here, the velocity of rain in Africa.

April 2007, Togo.

Rolleiflex T, Fomapan 400.