It’s like thunder! Lightning…


Lightning in the skies

This isn’t going to turn into “oh my god, did you see the sky” kind of blog. But, oh my god, did you see the sky? Well, no you didn’t. Not these skies above Bahrain. Unless you live in Bahrain too – in which case, hi!

The day after the incredible orangey-pinky sunset I greedily snapped away at, the skies above Bahrain delivered something even more spectacular. A fairly epic thunder and lightning storm.

Bahrain’s weather is rarely at any extreme. Except extremely, unbearably hot in the summer. There’s never any dramatic rain or wind. They’ll be dust. Actual days when the weather prediction is widespread dust. So it’s rare to witness dumpster moving, balcony shaking wind along with a bit of rain and a whole lot of thunder and lightning.

Lightning in Bahrain

Last year I managed to get a snap of a similar little storm that hit Bahrain. For the few minutes that these storms tend to hit these shores. This night was a little different.

The skies directly above me were clear. I could see a couple of stars peering down at me. Only a couple, seeing as Bahrain is a huge light bulb. The edge of the clouds were above me. And yet in front of me the storm was brewing. Literally, in the clouds, it was brewing.

Lightning in Bahrain

Huge bolts of lightning streaking across the sky. Never down. Or light just flared in amongst the clouds, lighting up the scene in front of me.

Now let’s get a little technical

None of these photos were taken with a tripod. No long exposure. Seeing as lightning is so fast and bright, and after my lessons from last year, I knew a long exposure would be pointless. Photos would be blown out by the amount of light. And the not having a tripod is also a big factor in forgetting a long exposure. Hand held it was.

Lightning in Bahrain

Going hand-held means a fast shutter speed to counter act any potential shake. Add to the fact that I had no idea when the lightning was going to strike, I opted for continuous high shooting. I held the shutter button down, pointing the camera in the direction of where I thought the lightning might appear, in the hope of getting something. There’s no science in this! Just a lot of trial and error.

Lightning in Bahrain

The only one of these photos in this post taken on the Tokina. It’s just a little too wide for what I was going for.

I started out with my Nikon 35mm f/1.8, which is what I used last time. It’s a great lens for low light situations. Not to mention it’s fast. But towards the end of the time I decided to be out staring at the sky, I switched to my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Which wasn’t a great idea. I wanted to get a wider view of the area with the lightning in situ, to set the scene for the lightning. However, I learned that my Tokina isn’t fast enough, especially in the dark with a maximum ISO of 1200. Perhaps with a tripod and a remote I could have achieved what I wanted.

Lightning in Bahrain

This was my third attempt at taking photos during a thunder and lightning storm, and I’m happy to report, I’m getting better at it. You could even say I’m learning. It’s all about that “try, try, try and try again” attitude, right?