Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Fifth Floor View

Storm over Brooklyn. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow." ~ Voltaire
I've photographed in thunderstorms before, with Nyssa yelling for me to come in before I get hit by lightning; but thunderstorms viewed from 5th floor apartment windows was a new experience. My arrival in New York was heralded with thunderstorms; daytime storms with massive lightning bolts and crashing waves of thunder, so bright the camera simply could not capture the actual bolt, just the bright white of the light. The rain so heavy that it obliterated the distant Manhattan skyline in a curtain of gray.

On Wednesday night, the 27th, another round of thunderstorms moved through; this time in the dark of night. Low rumbles quickly progressed to bright flashes of lightning and cymbal crashings of thunder. The static electricity in the air was so thick I could feel the little hairs on my arm stand up as I stood by the window to capture the lightning. It was then I realized the difference in photographing storms from the ground and from my advantage point. From ground level I never see the actual strike point; the view is always obscured by trees or houses; but here, I could see more of the bolt, the zig-zag track, the intricate background tracks in different directions.

Now, I wonder what it would be like to see and experience and photograph such a storm from one of those 60th floor penthouse apartments in Manhattan? Well, at least one with a really, really good lightning grounding rod attached. Amazing!!!

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