You never forget your first time.

And for me, my first time was last night.

The lightning and thunder cascaded with violent force throughout the Town and Village, and I was mentally bouncing back and forth as to whether I wanted to capture a photo of lightning or not.  At some point in time, I should capture a lightning strike.  I just really wasn’t prepared to do it right then and there.

But then the lightning came.  Waves and ripples and bright blue streaks.

I couldn’t resist.

Okay, all I have to do is get the Nikon Df – good, it’s in the house – battery’s charged, good lens on the chassis, and all I need to do now is just put it on the tripod and –

Tripod.  You mean the tripod that’s in the trunk of my car – outside where I could get one massive lightning strike right on my very person?

Damn it.  I’m brave, but I’m not THAT brave.

So for the next fifteen minutes, I tried taking pictures of lightning while holding the camera in my hands.  Yeah, that got tiring really quickly.  And every time I put the camera down to rest my arms – yep, you know it – big bright lightning strike that I could have captured had I just held on for ten seconds longer.  ARGH.

Okay, resolved.  Next time I try to do this, I need to have the camera on a tripod.  I need to extend for a 30-second exposure with a small f-stop and hope I hit the combinations perfectly.

Arms are really getting achy.  Right up in the collarbone and shoulder area.  Tempted to just call it a night.

And then, just when I couldn’t hold on much longer –

Lightning strike.  Just to my left.  I pressed the shutter button almost instantaneously.

Ran back in the house.  That lightning was so close, I think the thunder arrived first.

Quick.  Throw the image in the computer.

And sure enough… it’s a little off-center, but after a little crop job…

Lightning strike.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Lightning strike. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Holy Lou Christie, Batman, I got it.

Okay, yeah, it looks like a generic lightning strike.  But this was my first one.  And from here, I can go forward and plan on better lightning photography.  Maybe I’ll get one of those lightning triggers that I can attach to my shutter release.  Maybe next time I’ll drive down to the gazebo at the Town and Village, run inside (for shelter) and just aim my camera at the Hudson River and get as many strikes as I possibly can.

Or maybe –

Maybe I’ll just keep this picture for now and worry about getting lightning strikes later.  It’s not like I’m running around the storm area with a kite and a door key.

Not bad for a first time, though, eh?

Of course right now my arms are hurting hurting HURTING… next time, I’ll just have to muster up my courage and get the tripod out of the car.

That, or get a second tripod for the house.

Damn, I’m already thinking of the next time I can pull this off.

Lightning striking more than one area, I believe…