Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Relief from the heat and frustration from an antiquated computer

Worried about ruining my equipment, I had to wait in the parking lot of the Cocoa Beach Pier for the rain to pass. This is one of the shots I got as lightning struck to the south of me.

Central Florida has been experiencing a heat wave recently: It was 99 today in Melbourne. And I have been experiencing some serious computing issues: My MacBook Pro, which I use to edit photos, is in the shop. The keyboard has been randomly malfunctioning - probably a serious hardware issue.

So I knew that when I went out to intercept a lightning storm Monday night - some much-needed heat relief - I would have difficulty editing the photos if I were to get any. Indeed, with my slow Toshiba laptop, it took two hours to "edit" the five photos for this post. I say "edit" sarcastically because I got so frustrated that I ended up doing very little of it. Because I shoot in Nikon's raw format, each photo must be processed for a proper effect. My PC does not have the proper capability for that.

Despite the incredibly frustrating post-production aspect, the production itself was both exciting and disappointing. I left home late because I was in the middle of dinner when I saw that the storms were tracking southward along the east coast of Florida and into northern Brevard County. By the time I got into position for some kind of shot in Cocoa Beach, the storm was well upon the region - which basically means it was pouring. The lightning was intense, mostly striking just offshore, but often coming close enough to make my hair stand up once again.

During a break in the rainfall and after most of the storm passed, I got a few shots of the lightning to the south. Most of my photos were taken from the parking lot of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

In this photo, there are two men, workers at the pier, who stood at the window and asked me what I was up to. "Photographing the lightning," I said. "Are you studying it or something?" they asked. "No. I'm just a photographer," I said.

With the strong lights in the foreground, I got some lens refraction, which I couldn't remove because of the deficiency of my slow PC.

Here's a cropped in version. You can see the distortion caused by my extreme wide-angle lens. I'm sure my old laptop would have taken a few years to rectify it.

When I was heading back home to the south, the lightning was still going strong. State Road A1A, which runs along the coastline, is a split highway in southern Cocoa Beach. Here, in the parking lot of a Baptist church, the lights on the northbound lane are out, but on my side, they are on. The lightning knocked out power to some of the stoplights, too.

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