Plains of Thunder

Date - November 18, 2011

Plains of Thunder - Storm Photography by James Cole

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About   the   picture

This image inspired me to write a short story "Flaw in the Design" You can read it here.

This image almost didn't happen. I was on a road-trip to Ballarat with my partner at the time. We were running later than I'd wanted to be thanks to the fun Melbourne traffic. In the distance, we could see the storm clouds brewing and the occasional flash. As we got through the city and on to the country highway, the storm grew and the lightning flashes became more intense.

I mentioned how I'd love to photograph it, but kept on driving wanting to get where we were going. My partner then prompted me to do it. So I thought 'what the hell'. We found a little country road leading off the highway towards the storm and not far down, we noticed a little hill in one of the fields.

Armed with camera and metal tripod, we climbed the hill and were greeted with the most magnificent sight of the storm approaching. I set up the camera and metal tripod and began taking shots. The clouds rolled on and the lightning flashed all around. Did I mention we were standing on a hill and I was holding on to a metal tripod?

We stood there for twenty minutes taking shot after shot as the storm approached and the magnificent blots of lightning grew closer and closer. The atmosphere was electric and filled with a constant rumble. Needless to say, I was quite shitting myself. But I pushed through the fear until I knew for sure I had at least four shots with lightning strikes in them.

Then an almighty crack sounded directly overhead, and we knew our luck was pushed far enough. We ran back down the hill and got into the car just as the hail started pounding around us. All up it took 164 exposures to get 4 with lightning in them.

Back in the studio, I took those 4 shots and combined them into one. I also did a lot of work with the colours, tones and contrast to bring out the beautiful, yet dangerous feeling that was present at the time of shooting.

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