Wicked Beauty

I was actually chasing a thunderstorm that had rolled through Savannah and Thunderbolt and then Tybee Island, Georgia. The late afternoon thunderstorms can become a consistent daily happening over the summer months in Coastal Georgia. I chased the storm all the way from Savannah to Tybee Island. There, the thunderstorm had moved offshore so I headed out on the beach where I would finally have a chance to photograph it. The lightning and thunderstorm was moving east out over the ocean, but toward the west the clouds were beginning to clear allowing this beautiful sunset.

I was able to capture this one photograph before heading further down to the beach to photograph the lightning in the opposite direction. I was actually torn between photographing the above sunset to the west, or making an about face to photograph the lighting that was still thundering down toward the east and out over the ocean. 

I'm glad I did capture it, however, because I think it turned out awesome. The yellow in the clouds was brilliant with the sun going down behind them and provided a warm feel to the scene overall. The stormy looking clouds added a dramatic look to the scene, yet blended nicely with the peaceful looking beach scene which included the swing, the sea oats, and even some foot prints leading up to the swing. The above photo is titled "Sunset, Storm, and Swing".

So, after capturing this one photo, and knowing my objective that day was to capture the lightning, I made that about face and turned and actually ran down to the jetties to try and capture the lighting. Timing is critical when photographing the lightning, especially when you are not using a camera lightning trigger. Without one, you have get your camera setup and try to use a long exposure of 20-30 seconds and hope that the lightning strikes during the exposure. With a little luck, the lightning did strike a few good times while my camera was exposing and I was able to capture the photograph below which I called "Wicked Beauty".

The name "Wicked Beauty" actually came from a comment on Facebook. Someone kept making that comment every time I posted a lightning photograph. I guess it finally stuck. With the lightning, there is a certain amount of wickedness, danger, and power involved. Lightning can be a destructive force if it gets too close to you. It can also be a thing of awe and beauty if observed from a safe distance. 

So, it was with caution and respect that I attempted this photograph. I followed the storm from Savannah to Tybee observing it as best I could from my truck and also on radar on my cell phone. I was looking for a chance to capture it when it was far enough away so that I would be safe and not getting rained on. So, when I got out to Tybee Island, Georgia, the timing just worked out where the storm had moved far enough offshore and the lightning was still coming down close enough to be able to photograph it.

Wicked Beauty