Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photos | Not a lot of lightning but some interesting lighting

Tuesday's thunderstorms were confined mostly to the inland. Brevard County residents - or Brevardians, as they are called - saw only a close brush with dark clouds. Above, I trekked to the undeveloped outskirts of Palm Bay, Brevard's largest city, where paved roads lead through empty scrub land and along canals full of storm water. This area -- known as "The Compound" -- is popular with local hooligans who like to race cars and motorcycles and probably smoke marijuana. I saw two young boys setting off a wad of firecrackers. The lightning was not frequent with this storm, but with dark clouds overhead and strong sunlight shining in from all around the storm, the conditions were neat out there.

Light that was reflected from a bright cloud, which was surrounded by dark clouds behind me, hits this stop sign near a day care center in Palm Bay. I did take a photo of the cloud, but it wasn't that interesting in and of itself.

Because it's my weekend, I had nothing better to do than follow Interstate 95 south as the storm paralleled the highway. My instinct took me off the interstate near Vero Beach in Indian River County. There, I took State Road 60, an east-west thoroughfare that courses through orange groves and cattle land. Just west of Yeehaw Junction, I stopped in a driveway to a hay farm and waited for the rain to pass. When it did, the above photo is what I got. This is still hours before sunset and is facing north. Obviously, I enjoyed the colors.

The lightning was impressive with this portion of the storm. But the big problem: It was still daylight. Lightning is relatively easy to shoot at night, when a photographer just has to open the shutter with a cable release or remote, and wait. During the day, with this crawling type of lightning, a tripod and a ready trigger finger are necessary equipment. These shots did come at a price, however: Mosquitoes gnawed at my arms and legs, and ants stung my ankles.

It's possible to catch the lightning during the day either by holding down on the shutter button or by waiting until you see the start of something lighting up, then depressing the button. I opted for the latter strategy because these crawlers - which make their way across the sky relatively slowly - offer a good tip that more is to come in the following split seconds.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I like the lighting in the top picture. The grass is glowing. Good contrasts too.