Tag Archives: photography

Lightning never strikes the same place twice(?)

After the euphoria of starting a blog wore off last evening, I looked around me and realized I’m the only person left in my classroom… Strange thing is, it was only then that I became aware of how noisy it was outside. When I parted the blinds, I saw it was pouring… nature in frustration-removal mode replete with visual and audio effects. Weird, I always think thunder sounds different everywhere I go… it has it’s own unique character! All this cheered me up tremendously! I know a lot of people who tend to let their mood dip when the sky clouds over and it rains outside. For some strange reason, rain seems to charge me up big-time, it really, really turns me on…[xt_br][xt_br]
I quickly ran downstairs, found my chauffeur waiting(as usual!), jumped in the car trying to get as wet as possible in the process… and left for my hotel, which is actually a nice little walk away, but why refuse a drop home? On my way, the sky looked like the ceiling of a discotheque… flashes of lightning, at odd angles… coloring the night sky with strange shades of #aaa and #555 and #111… (gray actually!)I remembered that I had brought my camcorder with me and if I hurried, I could grab some footage of this climatic fireworks show from the window of my room. So I did hurry all the way upstairs, even in the super-lethargic elevator, the slowest I have seen in my life.(or was it just tonight?), grabbed my camcorder(Sony Handycam HC20E, it’s been a few months since I bought it and I haven’t gotten over it since… hence the plugging!!) and threw the window open, and there it was… 360 degrees of bad, BAAAD weather to soak in. I was faced with a frustrating problem now… where do I point my camera to get that perfect shot?[xt_br]
I have, for a while now, been obsessed with trying to get some video footage of a jagged bolt of lightning trying to touch something on earth… live, uncensored, as it happens, when it happens. The suddenness and inevitability of this event, as well as the visual splendor of that one split second is fascinating, it shows you how one moment, amongst the millions that pass by, can achieve it’s own special significance. It manages to remain, at least for a while, in memory… (as a person, I want to be like that one moment!)[xt_br][xt_br]
In pursuit of my obsession, I try to position myself in exotic contorted positions at my 6th floor window, trying to get the best angles. At first, I’m simply chasing, wherever I see the last flash, I end up pointing the camera there… it was frustrating, because I’m not a very patient man(that much, I guess, you figured?) Then I started thinking, that sort of detached thinking that you do when you’re actually doing something else. My thinking went from strategy to wild imagination to something very close to enlightenment. I decided to take a breather, actually a smoke 🙂 Have you ever thought of how similar this activity of mine, trying to chase a bolt of lightning to capture it on camera, is to life ? We keep wanting for something, however utopian it may be, to happen… knowing fully well that it may be improbable, but ending up disappointed nevertheless when it doesn’t happen in a while. What do we do then, lose patience and jump right on to our next “want”? Repeat this cycle of wanting and disappointment… ad infinitum?[xt_br][xt_br]
I wasted at least 20 minutes of footage without getting a single good shot, not even a decent flash, then I changed my strategy a bit. I observed, and tried to learn… where opportunity was at its maximum, there were certain parts of the panorama that seemed to be getting more than their fair share of attention from the Gods. I also realized that the frequency at which a good, photogenic bolt of lightning struck at approximately the same spot, was in about every 10 minutes. And how much time have I spent pointing my camera in every possible direction in an attempt to preempt nature, half-believing that I could actually predict where lightning would strike next? over 20 minutes… my lesson was learnt, now it was time to put it to practice… [xt_br][xt_br]
I pointed my camera to a spot on the horizon around which I had seen the most spectacular lightning and at the most regular frequency, it looked like a small hillock some 10km away with a tower of some sort on it, at least with the only light around there being the occasional flash in the sky, that was what I figured… [xt_br][xt_br]
I pointed, and waited, and waited… one beautiful flash, just out of the frame, then another… and another… I felt the familiar pangs of frustration creeping in again, but I kept going… and just when I thought it would never happen, the sky opened a portal of light and a crooked finger shot at the earth and stayed there for an eternity, just to the left of the center of my frame, and I was overjoyed… it felt orgasmic, just 5 minutes 23 seconds after I’d given up once… I’d grabbed the nicest shot of a bolt of lightning I’d seen(in my collection). I played it back, and learnt another lesson, how difficult it is to find 0.5 seconds of footage somewhere in the middle of 26 minutes of digital tape… anyway, found it… and learnt more in these 30 minutes than in several years. [xt_br][xt_br]
Lightning does strike twice in the same place, only if you wait for it long enough and want it badly enough… Opportunity never knocks twice, but if you know where opportunity is heading next, maybe you could wait there? Just maybe…[xt_br][xt_br]

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[Disclaimer: This is one of the posts from my first ever blog, that is now defunct. Though amateur, and in some cases silly, I did want to retain an archive of everything I have ever written in the blogosphere. Thank you for your patience]