It was still a bit before sunset and the lightning and thunder was playing their symphony outside my living room window.
It was dry and now if it would only get dark, I might have a chance at shooting something.
I grabbed the camera and figured I would head down to the ball fields and maybe get lucky if darkness could come before all the lightning stopped.
I stood there knowing that I was missing my target, but I honestly didn’t care. The wind was about 30 mph gusting at times to 40 or 50 and it felt amazing. It was dry and any mosquito in the area was taking cover from the wind.
For some reason (and I still don’t know why) my camera would not let me preview any of the shots just taken. That’s what I would normally do at the start of a shoot, to make sure my settings were correct. But in this case, that feedback loop was unavailable to me.
So, I turned on my Amazon playlist and just relaxed, breathing in the moment and snapping away. I kept adjusting the aperture on the camera as it got increasingly darker. But other than that, I was blind in the process.
I think in total I took over 200 pics. The first 150 or 160 were in daylight and they were almost entirely worthless.
The first two or three below are from that bunch. Getting only 1 or 2% of any shoot is ridiculous and certainly not what I would hope for.
But once it got a little darker to where I maxed out the aperture and so all adjustments ceased, the good shots started to come in. I think I got about 20 good shots from the last 40 taken.
A 50% yield when it comes to trying to capture lightning is more than acceptable to me. I was thrilled.
I have added them all below in the sequence they were taken and I have a couple of favorites that I think are genuinely special. I will let you decide for yourself what you like or don’t, but don’t forget to zoom in to see the detail of the lightning itself.
Depending on where in the sky it happened seemed to decide what colors it was creating and I suspect it is something to do with the heat or moisture content as to what color it generated.
None of the photographs are altered. I have only cropped or resized into the section of the sky where the action took place. I hope you find something to like.
It was only when the storm moved a bit far away and the rain started that I called it a night. And on the short two minute drive home, I was proud of myself.
Not because I thought I had gotten some decent images (because I honestly had no way to know) but because I hung in there after that first hour of nothing and managed to still be there when the skies started behaving nicely for me.
During that first hour, I managed to entertain myself and enjoy the whole atmosphere around me, so there was nothing that I had to endure beyond knowing that each was a wasted shutter click.
It was a wonderful experience start to finish and I would definitely do it all again. There was one moment when the evening had turned very dark and there was a huge flash in the sky close by. It was so huge that it momentarily turned the field I was standing in into pure daylight. I got the shot but haven’t included it here. Do let me know if you would like to see it.
But there was a moment (albeit only one or two seconds) where night turned to day and the world almost stopped turning. It was magical. And I was there to witness it.
I know there are many sayings about persistence but the one that springs to mind is that “persistence brings its own rewards” and mine was truly rewarded.
I am not the most patient person in the world, so persistence is something that I have to put effort into.
By that, I mean that in the face of adversity I sometimes have to talk myself into staying with it and continuing to fight the good fight.
It isn’t that I give up. I rarely do.
But I often adjust and find another approach to whatever is not working.
I think this is very much a trait I got from my dad. He would tackle anything and always gave it his all. I never, in the 50 odd years that I knew him, ever saw him walk away from something.
I view that as a strength of character and I try to bring that to the table for each project that I am engaged in.
But, as I said, I often try to alter the approach and exercise a plan B when something clearly isn’t working.
But the thing about plan Bs is that we don’t always have them.
Sometimes, the obstacle or difficulty is outside of our control and beyond our ability to affect it.
These are the moments when we must find it within ourselves to persevere and do or die, however it all plays out.
Because walking away removes all possibility of a positive outcome.
There is no such thing as a tactical retreat in life. There are retreats but they are not military maneuvers … they are simply acknowledgement of defeat.
And there is no acceptable defeat in life.
We may get beaten and bruised and still lose. But we also might win and if we aren’t still engaged in the effort, then there will never be that win. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote: “never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat”.
So the possibility of defeat should never be a factor in our decision to try.
And then once we try something, we need to stay with it. Give it everything and every chance for it to work.
It may not work and at the end of the day we may be wearing a failure for our efforts. But when the failure happens, we need to be still there and take the hurt.
Because if we aren’t there, how could we possibly know the real outcome?
… just a thought.