Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Civetta + Lightning

This is kind of a fun one, and it's also the last post from Italy.  We're finally getting through the backlog that this trip created; only a few more posts and then we'll resume stateside.

As I was drifting off late one night in Alleghe, I saw a flash, and shortly thereafter, heard a boom.  After a few more of those, I grudgingly dragged myself out of bed and hauled camera and tripod out onto the balcony.

As previously noted, our balcony had a direct view of the northern end of the Civetta group, and we've already seen it in all sorts of light.  This night, however, we'd get something different.

The thunderstorm was producing lightning a couple miles to the northwest, and I couldn't see any bolts, but every strike lit up Civetta in a ghoulish glow.

I'll do some photo-geekery in advance here so you know what you're looking at.  The next four photos are all equalized to the same exposure settings, so you get to see Civetta dark and then see exactly how much the lightning added to the scene (I was playing around with different shutter speeds, ISOs, and apertures, hence the need to equalize).  They're also white-balanced to the same value, so you can see the eerie color of the lightning on the rock face.  Both of these adjustments are evident in the trees that I've conveniently left in the lower right corner; they appear exactly the same in these four photos.  Also, I'm still not entirely sure how I got this focused.

Civetta, dark

And then...


A few minutes of empty frames go by, and then...


A few more minutes of darkness, and then...


I'm really in love with the shadows and colors on the rock.  Good stuff.

I thought the show was over, so I packed up, and then it was apparent that the storm only quieted down to move a bit closer.  Thoroughly ready to be back in bed, I again grudgingly set up and waited for more strikes.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, in the middle of one of the exposures, there was a near-direct hit.  It was a classic FLASH-BANG run for cover type of strike. 

When the exposure finished and showed up on the camera's screen, it was nearly entirely white.  Shit.  I pulled as much exposure out as I could (hint: LOTS) and set it to the same white balance as the previous photos.  If you've got any doubt in your mind just how freakin' blue lightning you go.


I nearly didn't post this last bit; the photo is on the bleeding edge of recoverable.  However, I still think it's cool, so there you go.

As noted, this concludes the Italy posts.  Arrivederci, Alleghe, Dolomites, Civetta, and Italy.  Next post is from Amsterdam!  Also, Happy Halloween.


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