This past weekend, I missed out on a really good photo opportunity. I was hiking with a friend in the chaparral of Southern California, when all of a sudden a big thunderstorm rolls through. I noticed the weather forecast called for a 20% chance of rain and thunderstorms, but I’ve seen that kind of forecast so often (and end up hiking under crystal clear skies), that I’ve learned to ignore anything below a 60% chance of rain 😉
Plus, I’ve only heard thunder or seen lightning twice in my five years of living in Southern California. So, when the weather forecast keeps saying “thunderstorms,” I always think to myself, “yeah, right…”
Anyway, back to the photo-op that I missed.. Once my friend and I started seeing lightning off in the distance, we decided to stop and try to take a photo. It wasn’t raining where we were at, and the storm was at least a few miles north of us, so we felt safe standing around taking photos.
But, then I realized I know NOTHING about photographing lightning. Over the last few years, I’ve come across lots of articles on photographing lightning, but always ignored them because “hey, I live in Southern California, it doesn’t lightning often enough here!”
That’s when I came to another realization: the fact that it doesn’t lightning very often in Southern California is EXACTLY the reason why I should be prepared to photograph it, because rare events always make powerful images.
So, naturally, when I got home, I read everything I could about photographing lightning 🙂 And, once I found out that photographing lightning during the day is nearly impossible, I didn’t feel so bad about missing a great shot 😉
This experience has also got me thinking about other things I should be prepared to photograph, even if they rarely occur where I live. Because the fact that they so rarely occur here, is exactly the reason why they’re worth photographing.
Have you had a similar experience?
If you’ve had a similar experience, where you weren’t prepared to photograph something special, then please tell us about it by leaving a comment below! Thanks 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.