Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The story goes something like this…

We had a wonderful daytime thunder and lightning storm today. A bit more than the standard monsoon, though we started with blue skies in the morning and the clouds building by about 1 pm. Once the storms rolled in I decided to take a little break from the office to enjoy the rain. The smell of rain was on the freshly kicked up winds, lightning was flashing and the thunder rumbling, bringing the promise of even more exciting storm activity in the future.

Though I thought to just sit and enjoy the storm, I couldn’t resist trying to capture the wonderful activity and retrieved my camera and one of the tri-pods from inside. I started playing with the settings, trying to capture the lightning flashes. No go, through the artificial dark of overcast monsoon skies it was still daylight, so the time exposures didn’t work, all I got was white. I tried some regular shots just trying to time the lightning flashes to my clicking of the shutter but the strikes were not the crawl leisurely across the sky type of lightning, they were of the sharp rapid strike variety and far too fast for my measly reflexes.

Then some lightning flashes from behind me caught my attention and as turned from the main storm activity I noticed the stalk of an agave plant, next to its fallen comrade which was leaning against a saguaro highlighted against the sky. Due to the overcast and weird storm lighting, the vegetation was nearly a silhouette against a stormy grey backdrop. Ohhh, fun with shadows and weird natural lighting, my favorite.

I removed the camera from the tri-pod for more mobility and with light rain falling and lightning all around I bravely stepped from the cover of the patio to play with the composition of the shot. About 5 minutes in to my venture, there was a bright flash and an enormous crack as lightning and thunder exploded around me virtually simultaneously. I’ll be honest, I let out a squeak followed by a swear word, managed to jump and duck like I was dodging gunfire at the same time and ran like hell towards the safety of the covered patio. As I finished my 20 yard dash, I realized the flash of the lightning happened about the same time I shot the photo.

Could it be? Nahhh. But just incase the impossible happened…I flipped the camera to review -

Woot! I caught the lightning strike. Talk about perfect timing!

So a bit about this photo: it was taken on regular auto camera settings, not on elapsed time exposure and without the use of a tri-pod on my Canon G-10. It is a color photo and has not been enhanced or digitally altered in any way, (including cropping). Since the image is not blurry, (and trust me I moved when that thunder cracked) all I can figure is that the shutter clicked closed in the split second between the lightning and ensuing startled movement from me that followed the thunder clap.

And least to say, this image is available as a fine art print. I actually had the settings on the camera correct so it can easily be enlarged to a 20 x 30 print.

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