Travel / 04 Dec 2015
Johannesburg Lightening


When I first started photography I always used to look at the people who regularly posted lightening pics and I always wondered how they did it. I would sit with my little point and shoot camera and every time there was a storm I would sit and wait and watch and take like a million photos. It started out just clicking and holding down the button and hoping and wishing that my timing would miraculously be right, it then moved on to where I would sit and the moment I saw any lightening I would take a rapid succession of photos. These techniques sometimes worked and I would get something semi useable but on the whole I would take about 1000 pitch black photos. It also didn’t help that the point and shoot camera I had had a delay from when I pressed the button to when it would actually take the photo. Therefore my “wait for lightening, quickly take photo’ technique didn’t work too well. So then moving on to plan 3, I would try and predict when the lightening would come. I would count the seconds between every flash and record them and try to find a pattern. I would listen to the weather and see if there were any warning signs just before a flash… It was quite a intense process. And I suppose it helped that we have summer storms so usually they would happen over the holidays when I had time for all this nonsense. I remember spending many many hours just sitting on my bed watching and trying to catch the storms. My predicting method never yielded much success… But I do remember the day I was sitting in class and someone started talking about this “bulb mode” on a camera. I didn’t know anything about it and when the lecturer started talking about it remember the excitement of the discovery of this cheat way to capture lightening. I do think it was quite a disappointment at the same time though, because for all this time I had so much respect for these photographers who I pictured perfecting the timing of capturing lightening, only to find out that its actually quite a simple thing to do.


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