McKinney resident Heather Rice was on her way home from errands about 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 6 when the ominous storm clouds rolling into the area captured her attention.

So she pulled over, whipped out her iPhone – and captured an image that instantly went viral.

With the rain forming what looked like at least four vertical columns within the menacing storm, Rice used the “Camera +” app on her iPhone 4, hitting the “clarity” button on the app before saving the photo to her phone and then uploading it to Facebook.

Before she knew it, Rice’s photo was shared literally tens of thousands of times. WFAA-TV showed Rice’s photo on the news and posted it to WFAA’s Facebook page, and a WFAA staffer told Rice the photo had received more than 17,000 views in an hour.

Rice said she was at the intersection of Independence Parkway and Westridge Boulevard in McKinney when she snapped the photo. She credits her polarized glasses for letting her clearly see the columns of rain that resemble funnel clouds.

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve just got to get this,’ and I pulled over because it was so crazy,” Rice said. “Someone was honking at me, and I was like, “I am getting this shot.’”

While she’s been excited that so many people have viewed and shared her photo, there’s also been a bit of a downside – someone falsely claimed credit for the photo, and multiple comments on Facebook have questioned whether it was Photoshopped.

Rice said that she absolutely did not use Photoshop or doctor the picture in any way before uploading it to Facebook.

“I don’t even know how to Photoshop,” Rice said, laughing. “There is no color editing or Photoshopping done at all.”

Rice has lived in McKinney for seven years and owns Faith Creations, a business she runs out of her home that specializes in customized jewelry. She says her iPhone takes such great pictures that she often leaves her Canon at home when she shoots nature scenes, sunsets or storm photos.

And while she’s photographed storms before, she’s never quite gotten a photo as cool as the one she did on June 6.

“It was just being in the right place at the right time,” Rice said. “I think it is so awesome how our city of McKinney water tower is in the background. Considering how ominous the clouds are, it definitely fits the ‘Unique By Nature’ theme of McKinney.”


About the author: Holly Becka is associate editor of McKinney Magazine.