As I sat by the window of the living room last night, the incessant flashes of lightning outside kept on catching my eye. Mainly 'sheet lightning' away behind the cloud, illuminating that foreboding sky as it crept slowly across the horizon.
After a good 20 minutes or so, streaks of lighting suddenly began darting through the air between the horizon and the clouds. At first I just watched, but as they become more frequent and, in some sense at least, more reliable; I got the camera gear out and set up for very long exposures using the tripod, timer and some heavy manipulation of the aperture, ISO and shutter speed to capture multiple strikes. I 'lost' the sky and city to burnt out highlights as expected, but simply took another two much shorter exposures to capture them correctly, later merging them to make one correctly exposed frame.
Not my usual thing but worth shooting, not just for the photography practice but for the impressive number of lightning strikes too. I stayed dry on the balcony with my camera gear, in humid heavy air getting bitten repeatedly by passing mozzies....worth it I think. .
6766 years ago, our ancestors watched the last pass of Neowise; the retrograde comet currently illuminating our night skies with the most wonderful, languid orbit. Obviously, the comet would have had a different name back then, and it would have brought along with it, great foreboding for those few homo sapiens observing it's progress across the night sky. Thankfully we're no longer tied to ancient ritual and superstition, says I, with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Fortunately for me, last night the horizon was also filled with noctilucent clouds, I have seen these several times but never understood exactly what they were, until a few weeks ago when I looked them up. They are comprised entirely of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere and only visible during astronomical twilight, so, as they say in Canada, this is a twofer.
My image today isn't anywhere near portfolio work, it's a memory, and a wonderful one at that. As I have said repeatedly, this is why I love photography, the ability to capture a moment and keep it forever is still, to me, a genuinely remarkable thing.
Here is a comet made of dust, rock and ice, hurtling through space 250 million kilometres (150 million miles) from our great blue planet, which is itself, hurtling through space. This remarkable waltz on an infinite dance floor, is visible from earth only every six and a half thousand years or so. Yet, this evening, from my own balcony at home, I have captured this once in a hundred lifetimes event. As I wrote some time ago when I made an image of mercury in transit across the sun, what a spectacular place we live in, and what wonders it provides.
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