Tuesday 23 July 2013 – London.
The two and half weeks of pretty much perfect weather had to end at some stage and it did in the wee hours of this morning – in fairly spectacular style! The television news had reported that thunder storms were expected overnight in London so before I went to bed I dug my tripod out in case something special happened.
It was a very humid night and I really did not expect to get a lot of sleep but must have dropped off as I was awoken by the rumble of thunder around 1:30 am. I lay there for a while before finally deciding to go and have a look at the action as I was awake and unlikely to go back to sleep any time soon. Disappointingly there was nothing really happening on my side of the block and I stood there on the deck for a while watching the flashes of light in the clouds from the lightening out of sight on the other side of the building. I went into the kitchen for a look out one of the side windows and could see a massive rain storm sweeping in from the north west. All of a sudden the wind hit the side of the building and started blowing things around the kitchen as it howled through the open window, it was so strong I struggled to push the large window closed. That was it, photography was on !
When I got back onto the deck with my camera set up on the tripod the horizon to the South had all but disappeared in the rain.
I had not taken photos of lightening before and experimented with a few methods without really knowing the results until I uploaded to my laptop this morning. This was the first one I got, a lucky break on a ten second exposure. The wind was really starting to hit so this is a bit soft.
The rain soon followed the wind gusts into the deck and I made a hurried exit back into the house 🙂
I also realised I was being a bit daft shooting straight off the deck when I could turn the camera forty degrees and I would have Tower Bridge as my back drop. As I waited for the wind to drop I swapped lenses from the 16-35mm to the good old nifty fifty as the images were just not sharp enough on the wide angle.
I took a lot of twenty and thirty second exposures, just hoping lightening would strike while the shutter was open. More often than not it didn’t, seemingly arriving just as the shutter closed. I have an awful lot of images of the skyline.
But I was very lucky a few times….
It was a great storm, spectacular, and it only lasted for a few minutes before it blew away to the east and I could go back to bed.
It was well worth the effort, as photography often is – I just need to remind myself of this more frequently and get out and do it.