Last night, I had just done the final chore of the day cleaning the upstairs litter trays and was carrying out a bag to the garbage can. Next stop was bed, having already taken my nighttime medicine.
But in that short walk to the trash can, I saw that there was some special lightning going on above me in the clouds and so I made a last minute decision to grab the camera and head for the ball fields down the road.
When I got there, the skies above me were flashing like crazy. There were no vertical strikes coming down to the ground; everything was playing out in the actual clouds themselves.
Because I hadn’t planned for it, it took me several minutes to get set up to start shooting. All my camera settings were wrong, I had left one SD card out of the camera (it’s a two-slot A7 iii) and so it also refused to take a shot until I went into the menu and told it that recording to just one card would be ok.
Of course, I was going through all this in the darkness of a ball-field and was very conscious of all the great flashes that were playing out above me while I was fumbling with the setting.
But eventually I did get it right and started shooting with the very wide 11 mm lens pointed up mostly at just sky.
With all the lightning playing out within the clouds themselves, they were never going to be crisp sharp shots that a strike against a clear sky would give but in this instance, I didn’t care. I also thought the offset would be the additional glow that the clouds themselves would give and would hopefully be good.
And I wasn’t wrong. I was pleased with the shots that I ended up with and have thrown together a decent selection at the end of this blog.
The air was positively warm and when finally the storm moved a distance northeast, it ushered in the most fabulous breeze right behind it and the temperature dropped a sudden ten or fifteen degrees.
I have never witnessed such a light show. I ended up taking over three hundred shots and I must have missed about another five hundred opportunities while the camera was processing each shot just taken.
The exposure time was 1.6 seconds, so in general I was probably taking a shot every four or five seconds.
I stayed there for around an hour or more and felt very humbled to be in the presence of such a wonderful display of Mother Nature’s light show. It was mind-numbingly awesome!
About fifty yards to my right were a couple of cars and the young people in them, like me, were happy to just stay and watch it all play out.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of the pics.
The thought I was left with as I drove home was how the decision to go was the right one, even if I didn’t have the setup properly planned for optimum photo-taking.
And that’s what led to the idea behind this blog. Spontaneity is often a good sense to follow, even if it does mean we can’t be as prepared for everything as a planned event might produce.
I acknowledge my normal planned approach to life. My girls referred to me as the “plan man” when they were growing up so I guess this trait wasn’t a particularly well-kept secret.
And I stand here and reaffirm that my belief in life is that we need to have a plan. We need to know where we want to go and develop a plan that supports our getting there. Without such a plan, we can often flounder and miss all sorts of opportunities to truly develop our life’s journey.
But every so often, we have to be willing to just do something instinctively and follow a gut feel, without knowing for sure where it is going to lead us.
Spontaneity is best realized when it is coupled to our gut-feel. This is the sense that just makes us believe in a course of action, without necessarily having thought about it.
When we go through life with just the five physical senses to guide us, we can often sell ourselves short on the experience that life was actually offering us.
Of course some people have a horrendous sense of instinct and if you are one of those, then don’t do anything spontaneous. Life’s adventure is not meant for you.
But most of us do have some sense of guidance coming from our gut instinct and more often than not, it turns out to be correct. It won’t always be correct but nothing in life is so don’t turn it off just because it got things wrong once on you.
Often times people don’t follow this instinct out of a fear of some sort. A fear of being wrong. A fear of looking foolish. A fear of being judged.
But fear is never the right guide to live your life by.
Sometimes, you have to just hop in the car and go follow those clouds and see where they take you.
And if you find yourself alone in a field, looking up at the sky, then congrats. It sure beats going nowhere and looking down at your feet.
… just a thought.