Tornado watches, tornado warnings and oops my camera is set wrong :(
We had a terrific storm blow through our part of the world yesterday evening.
By 5:00 p.m. Environment Canada was issuing tornado watches and then a while later, tornado warnings. I wasted no time in grabbing my gear and heading out of town to see if I could get on the outside of the approaching storm and get a few interesting shots. I had driven about twenty minutes until I was on higher terrain overlooking the city. As I listened to the radio and watched the occasional lightning strike in the distance, I decided to try and capture one of the strikes so I set the camera on the tripod, changed my usual camera settings to what I thought would be good for lightning and waited.
Nothing happened but the storm was getting closer and moving westward, away from where I was. I hopped in the Rav and went down the road until I saw an interesting formation. The clouds were moving quickly so I snapped a few frames and headed westerly. That is where I saw what looked like the bow of a boat cutting through the sky. It was incredible with different layers going higher and higher. As I snapped the wind increased and the occasional drop of rain hit me. I continued following and shooting what looked like a supercell really happy with what I was seeing.
The storm was now leaving me behind and I got back into the Rav and drove northwest. It seemed to be going faster than I was as I could start to see clearing skies behind it. Stop again and more shooting. Then it happened. I looked at my camera settings and realized that instead of shooting my bracketed exposures, my camera was set for a single exposure. Arrrrgh!
I changed the camera back to how I normally shoot and realized that I now had four duplicates of the exact same shot since I had tried the lightning shots. How would they turn out I wondered as I continued to follow the clouds until the sun had almost set?
I got home and looked at the early frames. There were some tremendous looking clouds but the ground beneath was black or severely underexposed. I tried processing them and none of them looked good. Sheesh! It goes that way sometimes. I haven’t had that happen to me in a very long time.
The shot at the top is a bracketed photograph. None of the individual frames had all of the information that I wanted. The difference from highlight to shadow is in the extreme. The lighting that you see is natural. There is no burning or dodging to lighten or darken the sky. That’s pretty much how it appeared to me as I stood at the side of the road.
I’ll spend some time later this week trying to see what I can salvage from the early shots but I’m not hopeful that any of them will ever see the light of day.
Some days things just don’t work out the way you’d like them to.