Load shedding had just begun. 7pm - 9pm, it was still a bit early to go to bed, so I found myself staring at a lit candle when I realised flashes coming from outside. No distinctive thunder just yet but I could tell it was lightning that was approaching the Uvongo area. I didn't hesitate, I grabbed my camera and tripod as well as my rain jacket and I drove down to Lucien beach. Thats my to-go spot for photographing lightning because it has a bit of a shelter by the tidal pool which I use to hide from the rain - which by then it hadn't really started yet.
I noticed that the lightning strikes were hitting over the Margate area so I pointed my camera in that direction. I was at the Lucien car park at this time so I had no shelter from the wind. It was quite frustrating because I could not get a clear image - the wind was shaking the camera too much. I decided to try set up my tripod under cover by the life guard tower but that didn't feel safe, it was still pitch dark due to load shedding. I ran back to the car contemplating my next move. At this point the rain started coming down hard so I had time to look at what photos I captured in that short time.
It was definitely not the image I was after but it was good enough to keep me chasing. So I drove slowly down the road toward Uvongo beach. I had another spot in mind that I could potentially go to, that would be under cover.
I got about half way and I had to pull over, my patience wore thin and I had to try capture some of the visuals I was seeing over the Ocean. I tried my best to hold the camera still but the rain and wind was too much and it was just a waste of time.
You can see by the image below.
I got back onto the road - back to the plan of getting to Uvongo, under cover so that I could focus and get the shot I was after. It was still raining quite hard, so in the back of my mind I was thinking that this might not be possible tonight. However I stuck with the plan and I arrived at Uvongo beach. I set up my gear and pointed my camera toward the lightning show. Every couple minutes I would have to wipe my lens because of the dropplets. I also had to try my best to keep the camera still as the wind was at full force.
I managed to capture one that made me realise that it is going to be possible to capture the one - I just need to get it.
At this point I had been fighting the elements for 2 and a half hours and I was seriously feeling it.
By 10:30pm the rain and wind stopped just enough for me to venture away from the shelter. Down to the tidal pool. I had an image in my head and I wanted to get it on my camera. I know this is not the safest thing to do but I have been photographing lightning for a good couple of years and I know when and when not to be out in the open, so please do not try this if you are not 100% comfortable.
I captured quite a beauty - I knew I was in the right spot. It was just a waiting game now. Maybe a bit of luck too.
Time went on and I managed to get quite a few good shots but still not the one I wanted. It was now past 11pm and I was exhausted. I decided to move my set up one more time to capture a different angle. So I found this small cave that I climbed under. It was great, It sheltered me just enough to get me out of the drizzle and breeze. The angle was exactly what I was looking for. All I needed now was for Mother Nature to show off.
And Oh did she!!!
A loud bang and a blinding flash went off. I just prayed that my camera was pointed in the right direction and that my settings and focus were correct. Once I looked at the preview of the image I just captured I couldn't believe it. It was perfect. Exactly what I was after. The lightning strike, the Ocean, the clouds, the rocks, the tidal pool and of course Uvongo all in one photograph.
This! Ladies and Gentleman, is what I love doing - Capturing Mother Nature at its finest.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this. I have put together a gallery of all my best Lightning Images from this evening. Please browse them down below.
If you would like any of these images printed please feel free to contact me