For days the forecast had said rain. I kept crossing my fingers that it would also include some lightning, but you never know with these cooler late-in-the-year storms. Still I had plans to try and get a nice cityscape shot with either great-looking stormy clouds or some lightning if I got lucky.
Tuesday rolled around. It was pretty nice weather all day and fairly warm. I wasn't complaining. There were some really amazing looking clouds up in the high country and all along the foothills. I really wanted to get up in the high country and get some shots, but I had to work...
Finally I made it home, and the clouds started moving in. I peeked my head out the door and could hear "pit-pat-pit-pat...pit-pat" of intermittent raindrops hitting the front walk. Ooohhh...I rubbed my hands together and crossed my fingers, "Hopefully...maybe...just MAYBE!...we'll see...some lightning?!" I was hopeful.
We got the kids in bed. It was a full-scale war as it always is, and in the middle of it, Jack fell off of Scott's bed while they were playing and cried. Shelley rocked him, and he went to sleep a little early. Not complaining though, but he sure is a cute kid and fun to just hang out with!
Shortly after the kids were finally asleep, I saw a flash outside and heard a light rumble...ohhh boy!...here we go!!
I found Shelley and asked her, "Um, looks like there's some lightning out there tonight...I'd like to get some shots if I can...would it be all right if I go out?" She responded, "I guess so..."
I was thinking, "Uh-oh," which, by the way, is Jack's new and kind-of first word (pretty exciting!), "This is what women say when they act like it's okay for you to do something, but they're really not okay with it!" So I asked her again, "Are you sure? It's okay for me to go out and get some lightning shots?" The response?
"I guess so..."
Well, whatever, I was going for it! (Plus she did seem cool, so I guess she was okay.)
So I hop in the hotrod minivan for a quick cruise to a spot I had in mind that has a nice overlook of the city. Plus it was starting to rain pretty well, so I thought it might work where I could park the van sideways, open one of the sliding doors, and set up in the back and shoot while keeping myself and the camera gear nice and warm and dry.
Then the plan got derailed!
I show up to the planned location and find that a little below me and definitely within the field of view of my camera some construction workers working on a bridge. Normally not that big of a deal. BUT!...they were using this worklight that I swear was 5 times brighter than the sun, and there was just no way I was going to be able to get any decent shots from that viewpoint!
So...plan B...except there wasn't really a plan B. So I drive around for a bit until I finally find an empty parking lot of a building, that while far from ideal, it was the best I could muster.
Meanwhile, during all of this time of driving around and having to scout out a new position, there was incredible lighting just streaking across the sky, and I was just HOPING that it would last.
Here's one of my first shots (note the water droplets on my lens, yeah, it was raining pretty hard. And I was neither warm nor dry. As for the camera? I shoot with an Olympus E-M1, so it can take a little water...THANKS OLYMPUS!):
Yes, that's a lightning strike that is occurring behind the city buildings and way off in the distance, NOT very impressive.
Anyway, I set the camera on intervalometer mode and let it start clicking away. Finally after about 100 exposures, and only one decent strike, I decided to call it a night. Oh well...I guess I missed the best lightning...
I just switched off the camera, removed it from the tripod, set it in the bag, and then...
BOOM!...this HUGE lightning strike lights up the entire night sky above the city buildings, exactly what I had envisioned capturing!!
Oh man, was I disappointed! So what did I do?
Of course, I pulled the camera out of the bag, set it on the tripod quickly, and rattled off another 100+ exposures...WITHOUT...I might add...any further lightning strikes!
Just another day in the life of a photographer...not every shot works out according to plan, and just when you think nothing is going to happen and it's time to pack it in, maybe...just MAYBE...hold on for one...more...shot.
It just might make the difference.