Sunday, 5 May 2013

Crossing off #23

#23. Capture lightning on camera. (refer Before I Die list)

I was working past midnight last night and, exhausted, had decided to turn in. I heard the pattering of raindrops as I crawled into bed, and flung open the window just in time to see the dark skies coruscate with a brilliant flash of lightning. Ain't no way I was going to sleep through a thunderstorm!

I wished I had a DSLR to capture the lightning, but having nothing but a pitiful iPhone 4S on me, I abandoned the thought and gazed out from the darkness of my room, craning my head to catch sight of every lightning bolt that hit the earth. My sister came in and sat beside me. We watched the clouds pour their frustrations onto the land and counted the seconds between the lightning and thunder. I voiced my wish and she suggested I take a video on my phone. I could pause the video when the lightning appeared and take a screenshot.

So I tried it. I got a decent video of a single bolt of lightning on my second attempt, but my aesthetic sense wasn't satisfied; I wanted multiple streaks of lighting rending through the open sky. I tried again for another thirty minutes. The lightning refused to strike through the spot of sky I would focus the camera on, but with a bit of patience (which is very hard for me to muster), secure with the knowledge that it would come, I finally captured it on camera.

Nothing as awe-inspiring as witnessing a lightning storm
take charge of the skies.

I've watched the video several times and it's fascinating to note how the light travels through the web of lightning bolts, illuminating them at different parts within a second. It took forever to get a screenshot at the split second the lightning appeared. I slept late, had to wake up early this morning and I'm still exhausted, but it was so worth it.

I just learnt of an iOS app called iLightningCam 6.0 that facilitates the tricky business of getting a shot of lightning strikes. I wish I'd known about it before; perhaps the picture quality would have been better, but I think my phone did a decent job without it.

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