I Caught It!

No, not the flu, the lightning. Me, with my three-year-old non-SLR nothing-fancy-even-though-I-Love-it camera and my non-professional skills, I managed to photograph lightning. 😀

I was on my way to check on my laundry in the dryer last Wednesday night when a flickering outside caught my eye. I stepped out on the cement balcony to get a closer look and just stood there with my mouth open for a moment. The storm was off to my east and it was mostly cloud to cloud lightning, but it was near-constant. It looked like the flashbulbs at a red carpet event. It must have been forty or fifty strikes a minute and it wasn’t letting up. I thought With it coming that consistently and no rain to get in my way – how can I miss? I have to try!

So I ran back inside and grabbed my camera, laundry forgotten. I remembered eventually that I have a tripod, but I didn’t want to go back in and dig through the closet and mess with setting it up at the risk of missing something spectacular. So I just stood out on my balcony and pushed the shutter release over and over. I did a little fiddling with the camera settings, having no idea what would work best for lightning pictures, and finally settled on continuous shot with the ISO on auto. (So it was taking multiple pictures every time I pressed the button and the camera was managing its own light sensitivity, rather than me manually setting it.)

Since the lightning was all cloud to cloud, a lot of it (and a lot of my pictures) looked like this:

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You can see from the yellow in the bottom left of the second one that I was fighting light pollution from the security lights on the building next door. Some of the pictures looked like this, though:

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By the time the storm moved off behind the trees and I finally convinced myself to come inside, it was forty minutes and over two hundred pictures later. Over a third of those were ditched in the first pass out on the balcony, being obviously nothing but dark, then another third after a somewhat closer inspection once I got inside (then I finally went and rescued my clothes from the dryer.) In the end, I wound up with eight actual lightning pictures. In angling to avoid the lights from next door and the trees in the yard, plus never knowing where the next strike would be, a couple of them are near misses:

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DSCN8375_smAnd a couple are woven in the clouds and kind of hard to see (besides some cropping and the watermarking, I didn’t do any editing on any of these photos):

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But I did get a couple “money shots”: 😀

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Oh, and one lightning bug. 😉

DSCN8515_smAll in all, I figure eight is pretty good for my first time successfully catching lightning, and the two really good ones still make me grin a week later. Between how hard it was to drag myself away and the rush of seeing what I’d actually captured, I think I now understand a tiny little piece of why storm chasers do it. You just never know what awesome beauty the next split second will bring – and if you missed it, there’s a chance you just might catch the next one.

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About Ruth

I am a Missionary Kid (MK) enjoying navigating this life with the unique viewpoint that has given me.
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7 Responses to I Caught It!

  1. egghill says:

    Great job! As you found out, it is difficult to ‘catch’ lightning. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re doing something you love, huh?

    Like

  2. Susie says:

    I’ve done the same thing for long periods of time. 🙂 I love the third to last picture.

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    • Ruth says:

      That’s one of my favorites too 🙂 I was so happy when I looked down at my camera and realized I’d actually caught one or two, but I didn’t see that one until I got inside. It still makes me grin. 🙂

      Like

  3. Kara Brown says:

    That is so neat! Beautiful pictures. I love lightning storms.

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    • Ruth says:

      Thank you! I remember sitting in our back room one furlough in Texas to watch a lightning storm over the hill behind us and little jungle-kid me was amazed at how you could have a storm with almost no rain – I didn’t know such things were possible. 🙂

      Like

  4. Pingback: Thankful Thursday 6-19-14 | A Road on My Journey

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