The Blue Storm Over Denver International Airport

The TSA never liked me and I didn’t expect them to start on this day.

I have a general distaste for their attitude, their silly policies where they search grannies for show, and their little uniforms meant to quell the suspicions of a doting public who will succumb to authority with nary a question.

So, I was surprised when I was able to charm a new female TSA employee into letting me onto the tarmac to take a photo of the storm. I was down at the end of one of the terminals catching a little plane to fly over the Rockies. A major storm was brewing in the middle of the sunset, and there was no good shot from inside the terminal. Anyway, I went out there, with the permission of that one gal… then started shooting until another TSA guy came over with a much more important uniform, scowling away. That was a short conversation. No worries everyone, your government is protecting you from people like me.

The Blue Storm Over Denver International Airport

  • Verfsnuiver

    Great picture nevertheless

  • Just remember that TSA stands for Tub Stacking Agency… puts everything back into perspective 🙂

    Great shot – as always.

  • Jacques

    She was probably taken into a dark room and beaten about the head and shoulders for helping you out. Of course, the fact that she was helpful and nice means she should not be working there anyway! Nice pic.

  • tom

    Although I have a general dislike for the TSA as well, I do understand why they can’t let people onto the tarmac. If they let every person who wanted to take a picture onto the tarmac it would be a zoo. Obviously you are more qualified to be out there than the rest of us, but as a policy that makes sense. Glad you got out there for this one though, its a great shot.

  • James

    What a great picture…and you are so lucky for getting down to the tarmac. Many times I wish I was down there for a sunset or storm. I love how the foreground is still bathed in lights, with sun rising through the ominous clouds. Great shot as always!

  • Gail

    Great shot, Trey!! Sure is an ominous sky. The only time I was at that huge airport in 2004, I had to go to the far end of the East wing. I was heavier then and just had a heavy carry on. I was helped by one of the assistants when going down an escalater, and then one of the cleaning employees put my bag on his cart and went with me all the way to my boarding gate. Hope you finally got in the air for your flight over the rockies. Did you have to wait long for the storm to pass??? Hope not. Thanks for sharing, great job!!

  • Wow incredible, I live in Colorado and would love to take that shot, I can never get close enough to DIA without actually going onto DIA property. Next time your here you should take a photograph of it at night, it lights up the eastern sky and you can see it for miles.

  • Nicely done! It is amazing what some people will do if you just ask nicely. Yet it is equally amazing what people will put up with under the guise of “Security” 😉

    Trey, next time you are in Denver drop me a note.


  • Lennie

    Shame on you! As much as you travel the world, I would think you (of all people) would appreciate the hard work of the TSA to keep you safe. Your pictures are great, but from now on count me out.

  • casusan

    Oh wow – beautiful shot Trey – love the clouds and colors in this one!

  • Jill Baxter

    Of course, those of us who folllow your blog and pictures know we need protection from people like you. Especially Lennie, the last poster, if he is serious that is.

    Keep on finding ways to slip through.

  • Jill Baxter

    P.S. The storm photo is fabulous. What exactly are those white dome-like looking structures in the background. That storm would have been spectacular to follow with your camera.

  • Jill –

    Those white domes are the roof of the main terminal of the airport.


  • J Collins

    Very nice shot, although your disdain for authority overpowers the image. 8 years without a repeat of 911 tells me they are doing something right. If our good intentions were obvious to others, these measures wouldn’t be necessary. But until then…….

  • Great shot! The TSA is a ridiculous display of security theater. Just watch for 10 minutes and you can see ways to get prohibited items past the drooping eyes of the TSA.

  • Hehe yes – I agree with most of you… the ones that think the TSA is keeping us extra-safe of off-base, in my opinion. I have dealt with hundreds and hundreds of TSA screenings. With certainty, it is largely “theatric”, as Jeremy has stated. They catch a few things, yes, but so did security before the government took over.

    Besides, frankly, if anyone tried to hi-jack a plane in the future, the passengers are going to take him down immediately. The only reason they got away with it before is because old-school hi-jackers would just take the plane to Cuba and use the ALIVE passengers as leverage. Now that we know that game is off, hi-jacking will be close to impossible thanks to inevitably brave passengers.

  • TSA = Thousands Standing Around is what we called them when I worked for AA after 9/11. Actually here in EP, TX most of the TSA screeners are the orig private security screeners, so why do we need them?

  • Fantastic shot, Trey. The fact that they’re not allowed to profile is what makes the whole thing so ridiculous. Now that poor TSA employee has to take an Arab on to the tarmac to even things out.

  • gary

    that TSA lady should be fired and you should not prove to others that these well-intentioned security limitations can be disregarded. hope your ego got a boost though….geez

  • J Collins

    I hope you’re right about hi-jacking being close to impossible. I’m sure there are a few dedicated TSA people doing their best to stop the bad guys, although I’ve come to expect posturing, red tape, and mediocrity from any service the government runs.
    That aside, keep the great HDR images coming. They make me want to get out there and improve my skills.

  • Facebook User


    Awesome shot!

    And in regards to your TSA comment, I agree with you whole-heartedly. I recently went on vacation to Puerto Rico and had to deal with some of these people. Regardless of them ‘keeping us safe,’ many of them are a bunch of pompous, arrogant jerks. En route to Puerto Rico, I went through the security door without setting off the alarm and they sent me back out because I forgot to take my laptop out of the bag. When I went back through the security door, I sounded off the alarm for some odd reason and the TSA agent says “You must have put something back in your pockets?!” Strike one..I ignored it. Strike two (which I ignored as well) was, another TSA agent was giving me some mumbled directions to do something and she proceeds to ask me “Do you speak English?!” Yes, I am Hispanic but I am clearly not illiterate or uneducated by an means. Overall, I felt very disrespected and violated by these people and the fact that they are ‘keeping us safe’ doesn’t give them carte-blanche to talk to people however they so choose.

    End of rant. Trey, keep up the good work!

  • It is a little cluttered for a normal 2D shot, it makes me think this would have been an awesome stereo-photo. Sorry Trey, I know you can’t see 3D but I can’t help myself from wishing sometimes.

  • Nice shot Trey!

  • Any chance you can post a line with your photos referencing the # of imagfes you combined and the exposures on each? That would be helpful to those of us trying to learn.


  • Thanks all.

    Patrick – sorry I can’t do that for every shot – it would just take too long I’m afraid. I do have a free HDR Tutorial here on the site that should help out quite a bit – thx

  • Matt B.

    Great image, always enjoy looking at your new stuff.

    I ran into a similar situation at the Newark airport. I was just getting into HDR and saw a very coloful sunset, three cheers for Jersey pollution, out of one of the windows. I set up and took about 12 shots. I was then approached by a very perturbed TSA employee who demanded I erase my memory card. I obliged, largely because only two of the twelve images were on that memory card. The other was in my pocket. One would think that if they were thorough they would have searched at least my camera bag and my person. If it really was that important to the security of the airport.

    My other concern, is that if images of airports present a security risk, why do they allow cameras in airports to begin with? I was shooting with a DSLR Canon and assorted lenses, on a tripod, with a cable release, in essence a setup that would be very hard to hide. Most camera phones have cameras that could take “sensitive” pictures of airports without much of a problem. Those same phones could even transmit those images to a potential attacker. I think that it was far less about a real security risk and far more about a TSA employee simply overly exercising their authority over me, what little of it there is. Are they products of the system, or does every schoolyard bully end up working for the Tub Stacking Agency?

  • when you talk about wines selling at $100, $200, $300 Almost never true when you taste wines at $10, $25, $35, up to about $50. Unfortunately.

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