wiwo wednesday: storm photography

lightning storm photography

Here in DC, our classic humid summer has started to peek through in spurts, and I’m not looking forward to the muggy mornings, the muggy afternoons, and the muggy nights. But yesterday, I had something to carry me through the day: the promise of a big summer storm.

I got home safely from work, cooked dinner, shut down my desktop computer just-in-case, then waited. Without even looking outside, I could feel it in the air: an electric tingling, a tense anticipation.

pre-thunderstorm gray

The sky, and the world, darkened rapidly as the clouds moved in. Then, the rain began.

I stopped everything I was doing and sat on the balcony, living in the storm. I sat, and watched, and thought, with lemon tree safely at my side.

When the world calmed down, and cooled down wonderfully, I went back to my projects. Not long after, I realized that my apartment, and, again, the world, was bathed in yellow. Not the golden yellow of sunsets, but a nearly neon, turmeric yellow. I can’t remember seeing anything like it in my lifetime. I felt like I was looking at the world through filtered glasses (or, you know, instagram). It was delightfully and beautifully absurd.

post-storm yellow glow in the sewing room

Above, an unmodified shot of my sewing room. The world was glowing.

For the second time this year, I was compelled to set up my tripod on the balcony and shoot storm photos. In the shot below, I was lucky enough to catch myself and some of the prolific post-storm lightning – see the bright white in the low center? The sky was pink, the world was yellow, and the clouds were constantly flashing.

post-storm magenta sky

Yesterday’s magical storm held a downpour, but these other photos are from a storm in April that was nothing but lightning. No rain, no thunder, just lightning shooting across the sky every minute for an hour.

lightning storm photography

It was magical to watch, but even more magical to capture. I snapped away with the camera, blindly hoping for the chance to keep a few of those lightning streaks forever.

lightning storm photography

It was with this last photo that I said to myself, “okay, Sam, you can go to sleep now. you caught them.”

This week’s “what i’m working on” isn’t so much about the impromptu storm photography as it is about my mindset. There are many things that I love, and many things that I get excited about. It’s easy to try and shrug these things off in an effort to be more serious, more grown-up. But what I’m working on is rejecting that urge. I love thunderstorms. I’m often amazed at the beauty of the sky. I’ll grin at every fresh, cool summer morning.

It’s easy to stop being excited; it’s harder to realize that these things, no matter how common, are special.

I’m working on cherishing the small moments that bring me joy.

see the rest of the wiwo wednesday posts here.

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3 Responses

  1. Love the lightning shots!!

  2. Mama says:

    These pictures are great, Sam. It sure was a beautiful sky:)

  3. Stephanie says:

    In my experience, yellow skies have meant tornadoes! I’ve only seen two – and not even the funnels myself, just the winds and aftermath – but the yellow skies were the eeriest thing.

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