Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lighting up the Night Sky

If what I say isn't true, may a bolt lightning strike me down!
The chances of that ever happening to me are about as good as being struck by lightning!
Lightning never strikes twice.
Not in these parts anyways.
See we don' get real lightning.
Not the Hand of God type of stuff that splits open trees so that gifted folks can make baseball bats.
It's sort of rare to not finish a round of eighteen just because the sky starts a rumbling.
I've only seen real bolt lightning like three of four times here.
Once, I was in the sixth grade, it was around lunch time and it was really hot and muggy, and we were standing around waiting for the school carnival to start when these funny looking things came shooting down from the sky.
Didn't stop us from the Ferris wheel.
Oh no.
Then one time about twenty five years ago or so, at night over the Marine Base, we got what's called circular lightning. These bolts or sparks or whatever never hit the ground, they just sort of floated out there in space, looking all neon like making curly cues and such.
That was spectacular!
Never happened again, at least I never saw it again.
Then there was tonight, as I was coming home, again over the Marine Base, a gigantor bolt of lightning lit up the sky!
Do that again please.
No chance.
Not any bolts anyway.
So I sat there at home for a minute listening to the folks in the sky bowling, or shooting craps with some really big dice or something.
I hoped and wished and sent up a kite on copper wire.
Okay, not really.
About the kite part.
I did try to get some images though.
Here it is all dark like, camera set for a five second exposure at F8:

I just kept taking five second exposures hoping to catch something really stupendous for you, the reader, but all I got was this:

Let's try that again.
I just tried to load up an image like 18 inches wide.
I've been sitting here for like ten minutes.
Okay, not really.
About the ten minutes part.
Let's try this:

The idea was to keep taking them five minute thingys until I got one really good one, then I was going to open up the aperture little by little to get a really really awesome once in a lifetime shot.
Then the little blinky thingy started to well, blink, telling me my batteries were about to take a flying leap off a tall cliff.
So the only other thing I got was this:

I assure you, the lighting was quite impressive, lighting up the night sky as if it was high noon.
I swear, there must have been like 3.5 GAGILLION watts of juice flying around out there looking for someplace to land.
I bet if got the camera down to F3 or so, I could prove it, but the lightning missed my batteries and the camera went south.
I tried to use the point and shoot, to no avail.
Then it started to rain.
Anyways, just letting you know, the weather here isn't all milk and cookies all the time.
Boy, my roof is going to start leaking.

Here's some video I shot a little later.
The third flash and thunder made me jump!
Towards the end, the flashes out over the ocean.
They say to expect more of the same tomorrow.


John Romeo Alpha said...

You can hear that third set sizzle and crackle. Speed of sound 1100 feet per second, that third one seems about a mile away or so. Maybe you can ride out that direction after the weather and see if a tree exploded.

limom said...

Despite my evil eBay escapades, I don't think any of them landed around here.
Though about fifteen miles north, the news reported a strike blew a four foot hole in a church steeple.
Go figure.

Apertome said...

Beautiful shots, even if you can't tell much from them. I love night shots.

The video is really awesome, the way it shows the lightning. I can't hear the sound (on campus, with my netbook)

limom said...

I'm not very good at shooting at night, still trying to figure out all the settings and stuff.
I'm sure if the batteries hadn't died I could have done better.
That's digital point and shoot for you.
Still, I can't justify getting a full featured camera(with bulb setting).