I tend to be careful when chasing lightning. Weather radar and general observation on location clearly suggested this bad boy was on his way off shore. A great reminder of how unpredictable the weather and electrical storms in particular can be!
All the lightning was captured in one frame with the exception of the horizontal strike heading across right of frame. I grabbed him from a separate exposure that was terminated about 15s into the proposed 6mins exposure time- frankly I lost my nerve at this point and made a rapid retreat to the sanctuary of the headland behind me. This particular strike was accompanied by his mate who made contact with land less than 100m from where I was standing. The flash was so bright and loud that I all but lost my night vision. My sight was as normal within about 5 minutes, the ringing in my ears persisted for several hours. Feeling lucky is still with me!
Those of you with a keen eye might recognize this shot as being the colour version of my last upload. Those with a good memory may recall that I uploaded a similar version several months ago. I took the original image down as I was never happy with the colour. No matter what I tried (PP skills are limited but I am trying to learn) I couldn’t get rid of a strange colour cast in the blacks. While the colour in this version may seem over the top to some and it is quite saturated it recreates for me the feeling of actually being there so I am comfortable with it.
For anyone who may be interested in how this shot was taken, or capturing storms in general I have a simple technique which tends to work for me. The first thing I do it set a high ISO and perform some test exposures to get a feel for the correct exposure to render the foreground elements in the scene. In this case I got 30s @ f4 ISO 3200 so gut feel and a quick calculation got me to 6 minutes at ISO 200. I stuck with f4 and 200 ISO, when I started shooting the lightning was fairly distant and those settings have proved good for me is similar conditions- I am prepared to sacrifice some DOF and overall sharpness for greater definition in the lighting and less noise that a higher ISO might produce. Yep, its always a compromise.