These images were captured quite unexpectedly and came in the middle of two unlikely and unexpected weather events that just happened to slam into each other: a lightning storm and a thing called the “Bura” (more on that later).
While visiting with some friends in the city of Senj, Croatia we went up into the mountains for a breathtaking look down on the Adriatic Sea. While we were up there, our friend kept watching the weather and encouraging us to make our way back to the cars and go down the mountain. I was pretty much ignoring him because it was just one of those misty, foggy, mushy types of clouds that were very slowly creeping their way toward us. When we finally did wrap up our little hike and head down the mountain all still seemed just fine. We got back to the town of Senj and they were showing me a castle when all of a sudden, like a fan was switched on, wind just started hammering us. Bura. The car (Prius) was being rocked back and forth like a toy. Well, silly me wanted to get out to take pictures of the castle. Smart Jonny had Irma (driving) point the car into the wind so that it wouldn’t rip the door off. Well, good thing he did. After the car was positioned I made my move. Or, tried to. I pushed and strained with all of my might, arms and legs at the end of their power, but I couldn’t get the door open enough against the wind to get out. Even if I had managed to make a gap wide enough, I would not have been able to push with arms and legs and also magically get out at the same time.
I did manage to get a picture, though it isn’t very striking. Cancel the castle and head home.
When we arrived at the house, the wind had lessened to a manageable intensity to at least get out of the car, but at the same time unexpected event number two was knocking at the door.
For those not familiar with the geography of where I am describing, it is sunny and semi-arid. There isn’t much greenery around at all and it is VERY rocky. Everything is stone, though that doesn’t have much impact on the weather. It just doesn’t rain much along the eastern side of the Adriatic during the summer. First the wind surprised us, and then the rain. And they didn’t come from the same directions. Quite a fancy trick.
When the rain began it was beautiful to see the sun glowing through the storm and the rain falling into the white capped vivid blue sea. A rare treat for this American boy! Then the lightning started with a BOOM to alert us. Jonny decided to get out his camera and tripod to do a little lightning shooting. Their home is up on the hillside facing the sea with the city and harbor below and to the left. He already has an AMAZING image of fireworks at the harbor and lightning striking the lighthouse. Too bad he isn’t interested in showing it to the world or I would link to it. Back to the story.
Jonny is all set up and, knowing I am a photographer, is trying to get me to take out my gear and shoot. I had no tripod. Problem. I have no intervalometer. Another problem. I have no experience shooting lightning. Further problem, but with a solution. My gracious host not only encouraged me to try it but taught me how. I did experience a lot of non-ideal challenges while shooting. I had to set my camera on the (covered) balcony railing since I had no tripod, in the rain. I had to manually trigger each 10 sec exposure. The worst issue, as you’ll see in the images below, is that because of the lack of tripod, I had to set up where there was a giant power pole right in the middle of my frame. UGH! Even more frustrating was that the lightning shots I did get were always directly behind the pole. I was hoping to avoid that by shooting with a wide lens. And since my camera was in the rain I was also getting water spots on the lens. Out of a couple hundred exposures I got a few shots with fire in the sky, and I present my favorite to you below. Please note that there are two versions of the same image. One before correction and one after.
Enjoy the lightning!