Saturday, March 10, 2012

Running In the Wrong Direction

I've been on the road for the past few weeks. The first half of the trip I found myself in Nashville working on a photography project for one of my clients in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort. I had two photographers from Nashville assisting me; Ashley Matthews and Sarah Barlow. They both did an amazing job and I couldn't have pulled it off without them. They were also the first ones to alert me to the fact that the Opryland was not your run-of-the-mill hotel.
It was like three normal-sized hotels were stuck together. The most noticeable feature was the intricate glass ceiling. It turned the atrium into a airy plaza with foot-bridges, fountains, waterfalls, and an indoor river with working tour boats. The only problem I encountered during my stay had to do with the weather. On my last day the forecast called for dangerous storms building in the afternoon. Hotel management even slid papers under our doors letting us know that tornadoes were a definite possibility.

All day long we were watching the radar on our phones and computers. Sure enough, the storms starting forming all around the mid-south. Reports were coming in that Kentucky, Tennessee, and even Indiana were being hit. One large storm cell was heading right for us. The sky turned pitch black just as the tornado sirens in the hotel began to blare.

Now, I ordinarily don't do many dangerous things. I am NOT a big fan of getting hurt by flying tornado debris. But this was the first time I've ever had to evacuate during a job and all I thought about was capturing the moment. As everyone was running to get out from under the glass ceiling, I quickly grabbed my GoPro camera, mounted it on my tripod, and ran out to place it in the middle of the floor. I aimed it upwards thinking, "If this place gets torn apart I'll be really mad if I don't get some good footage of it."

Of course I would never wish something like that to actually happen. But I thought that if it did, it should be well documented. Fortunately, the strong storms passed right over us. We didn't even have any hail damage on the cars in the parking lot.

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