The sky is falling! (Or, Thunderstorm!)

I love a good thunderstorm. However, the weirdest thing since I’ve moved here in May was the fact that it never rained. The first sign of any precipitation was a two minute spitshower a week ago. Coming from New England, where it could rain for days at a time, and usually every weekend, it’s been a slight adjustment.

My apartment building is a tall, narrow building. 6 stories high, and only one apartment deep (I’m no good at measurements, maybe 25 feet deep?). So my front door faces south, and my living room windows face north. The building is flanked by a long ridge to the north, and about 3 or 4 miles to the south is another long ridge.

So I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV, when I notice a bright flash out of the corner of both eyes - through the front door, and through the living room windows. Simultaneously. My mind begins to process this information when the loudest clap of thunder breaks directly overhead. I almost fell off the couch from surprise, and promptly started laughing my ass off at my own stupidity. But now I’m in the middle of a fairly decent sized storm by New England storms, and a fairly mild one by South African standards.

It really feels like the sky is about to fall. Thank goodness for my wireless laptop connection :wink: If the sky actually does fall, I can post to the SDMB about it.

Oh, forgot the reason I mentioned the ridges. Every 30 seconds or so, I can see a lightning strike on one ridge or the other. Houses with big, thatched roofs are a common thing here, and because of the fact that they’re thatched, having a lightning rod on the property is mandatory. I think they have to be twice the height of the structure, but I could be off on that. The only thing I can come up with is the lightning rods are drawing a lot of strikes. Very cool though. Now if I could figure out to capture a strike on film…

That’s easy. Just use a 'bulb exposure and hold the shutter open for a few seconds while the lighting is going.

Well the problem isn’t so much a technical issue as a luck issue. The wind was strong enough that I wasn’t fond of the idea of just leaving it on the tripod, especially with the rain it was whipping around as well. And while I tried to set up the shot from inside, the fairly narrow view made the chances of being aimed at the right place at the right time.

And of course, now the storm has moved on. But we’re entering the rainy season now, I’ll very likely get many more chances to try.

(It strikes me now as amusing that I said I wanted to catch one on film, since it’s a digital camera. Funny how things stick with you…)