I was on my way home from work at ABC News Online and was sitting on the bus as it headed into the Brisbane CBD. I was going to have to change buses in the city, which is no big deal. However, as we made our way down Coronation Drive, next to the Brisbane River, I could see this big, black, gnarly storm front sweeping across the suburbs on the other side of the river at a rapid rate of knots.
I did a bit of math in my head and it appeared the storm front was going to hit the CBD at around the same time the bus I was on was going to arrive. I only had to walk 50 metres or so from where the bus dropped me to where the second bus picked me up but I didn't have an umbrella (which, I thought at the time, might prove useless anyway) or anything remotely waterproof. Brisbane rainstorms can be big, scary things and, unless in head-to-toe waterproofs, forget it.
Raindrops - bloody big ones - started hitting the bus windscreen a few hundred metres from where I had to get off and by the time we got to the bus stop the heavens had opened, accompanied by fierce winds.
The red 'don't walk' man you see in the photo is where I have to cross the road to get my second bus. I jumped off the bus and straight into the pouring rain, now being blown sideways by the wind.
The bus stop is next to the Supreme Court building which, when a storm isn't blowing through the CBD, is a lovely building to walk around and through. However, when the wind is swirling and the rain is being blown every which way, it offers no protection and is bloody useless.
Not caring about anything in my path, I turned GI Joe and headed cross-country i.e. through garden beds, for what looked to be an area of some protection from the storm. This turned out to be an empty fountain against a wall partially sheltered by an overhang. I stood there, out of the rain...just...and marvelled at what was happening beyond my 'sheltered' corner of the Brisbane CBD.
Moreover, I was amazed at the amount of people out in the storm, many of whom were using bags, folders, briefcases and an assortment of other devices as wet weather 'protection'. All of which were totally useless. I couldn't understand what was so pressing that they needed to be getting themselves drenched in such a manner. I doubt any of them had a change of clothes, let alone a towel, back in the office. I was more impressed by those with no protection at all. They were true diehards.
As I marvelled at the sight before me, the news-gene that had implanted itself in me over the previous 20-odd years, kicked in and I dragged my camera from the very dry confines of its bag. I'm sure it wasn't impressed by this but such is life. I knew there had to be a photo out there somewhere.
While my news-gene had kicked in, my self-preservation-gene had kicked in alongside it and I was going to stay where I was to get a photo. There was no way I was going to get drenched for my art. I had a bus ride to sit through and didn't want to do it in wet undies!
Still pressed against the wall, I lifted the camera to my face and began firing. I did afford myself the opportunity to move along the wall but stepping away from the wall brought me closer to the wind and the rain an this was a no-go area as far as I was concerned.
There were still alot of people rushing through the rain but nothing really grabbed me. I had an idea in my mind's eye what I was after but nothing was living up to my expectations. Then I saw a bunch of people huddling under a narrow awning across the street from where I was.
I had a clear view of them and could see the woman in the photo was keen to cross the road but kept 'false-starting'. She appeared to have no protection but this obviously didn't faze her.
Finally the little green man lit up and, in what I can only assume was a case of bad luck, she broke from the sheltering pack as the storm really hit its straps. However, she had committed herself and wasn't turning back. I saw her plunge - almost literally - into the wind and the rain. It was an admirable sight. Little did she know that, at the same time she was giving her clothes a free wash, around 50 metres away a photographer's eyes were lighting up.
I fired off around half-a-dozen frames and turned back to face the wall, in order to protect the camera from the same wind and rain that had afforded me the photo. Still facing the wall, I pressed the camera against my body and checked the sequence on the LCD screen. I smiled.
I fired off a few more frames of other scenes but the storm was gradually abating. Then, as suddenly as the storm had started, it finished. I walked the 50m to my bus stop, caught the bus home in dry undies and emailed the photo you see here to the office.
Gear used - Nikon D5000, 28-105 f3.5-4.5 lens, 1/125 sec f5 (therabouts), 1250ISO.