I picked up these 6 postcards of photos that were taken on the morning of May 18th, 1980 the day Mt. St. Helens erupted. I numbered the order of the postcards in the progression of each picture. The journaling next to each on is quoted rom the back of the postcards by the photographer Gary Rosenquist...
MAY 18th, 1980 – 5:30 a.m.
I set my camera on its tripod and photographed a
beautiful sunrise shining against the mountain. I left
the camera on the tripod still facing the mountain.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m., my friend Willy peered
through his binoculars and said the mountain looked “fuzzy,” so I took a picture.
MAY 18th, 1980 – 8:32:33.9 a.m.
Minutes later, while I was standing with my back
towards the mountain, Willy yelled, “The mountain’s
going!” I dashed to my camera and accidentally
bumped it as I reached out. Luck was with me; and the camera was aimed perfectly.
MAY 18th, 1980 – 8:32:44.0 a.m.
The sight of the avalanche sliding off the mountain was
so overwhelming that I became dizzy and had to turn away to keep my balance. I turned to look at the
MAY 18th, 1980 – 8:32:48.5 a.m.
When I turned around to face the mountain
again I was transfixed by the sight before me.
MAY 18th, 1980 – 8:32:59.0 a.m.
All my energy was focused through the lens of
my camera as I watched a scene unfold like a
silent movie before my eyes. I never heard the blast. Somehow I managed to take twenty-two
pictures in about 30 seconds.
MAY 18th, 1980 I grabbed my camera and ran for the car. The
turbulent cloud loomed behind us as we sped down
Road 99. We raced toward Randle as marble-sized mudballs flattened against the windshield. Minutes later it was completely dark. We groped through the
choking ash cloud to safety, taking with us a moment in time.