Bamm !!! That’s all I heard. I didn’t actually see this hit. I was at the beach with my family when a very large storm came rolling in. First we heard the thunder coming from the front door of the hotel. One bolt hit so close we thought someone had taken a sledgehammer to the front door. So I went out onto our fifth floor balcony and could see the sky lighting up every 30 seconds or so. So I set up my tripod and pointed my camera towards the ocean. The storm kept moving in directly over us in a west to east movement. I set the shutter speed for 30 seconds and F22. Too dark. Opened up until it was just right which I think this was F8 and ISO 100. After 30 seconds I checked to see if I caught any bolts. If I did I pressed the shutter again, if not I deleted the shot. So after about five minutes I was recording the shot and noticed some other folks on the balcony watching the storm also. That’s when it hit. But it was the middle of my exposure and had to wait fifteen agonizing seconds to see if the bolt was in the frame. It was. Actually the above image is only cropped a little to straighten the horizon.
To show you how close the bolt was here is a crop of just the bolt at 100%. You can see the edge of the beach so I don’t think it was more than 200 yards away when it hit. The really neat thing about this shot is that you can see either the bolt coming back up out of the water or maybe the electricity being sucked up. Any lightning experts out there? This was probably very dangerous to do since I was only protected by the overhang of the hotel. Next time I am getting a wireless remote and staying inside behind the sliding glass doors. Bamm !!!