Photographers often have a short time to get a photo. That’s when they begin to wonder how they can create the weather. Movie special effects guys have it figured out. That’s who taught Dad all of his tricks. On one of his shoots, he watched the wizards of weather turn a mud puddle into an instant and robust rainstorm with a Hale pump.
Dad learned everything he could from the movie gurus. Soon he was creating his own weather. After conquering rain shots, he moved on to dust. He envisioned a photo with a cowboy battling his way through an epic desert dust storm.
In order to pull off “Dust Storm” Dad knew he needed a very powerful wind machine. Rather than rent one, he commissioned his mechanic, Bill Hewitt of Hewitt’s Garage in Dallas, to build one. It was a work of art.
There was a bit of a learning curve the first time out, though. The wind was so strong it almost blew the coat off the model, but it didn’t seem to bother the horses. I guess they were used to Arizona’s real dust storms.
The dust was so thick the model had trouble seeing where to walk. Dad, to protect the camera gear, was off to the side of the wind stream. He could see just fine and he avoided any muck coating his camera. He got off about 6-8 frames before calling the shoot off. By then the model was caked in dust and Dad had a winning picture.