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Mid evening storm, Prague

Night Photography

Mid evening in Prague,  on what had been a particularly hot day,  and a change in weather was moving in.    The temperature had been such that I’d stayed indoors most of the day trying to keep cool,  but I remembered that during the evening,  the city sometimes puts on a fireworks display near the river.    With that in mind I set out with camera,  tripod and remote shutter release in the hope of getting some interesting images.

Well, I set up the tripod and waited,  and yes there was a fireworks display but a miscalculation on my part saw me in a less than prime position to see it at its best….damn!

Walking back over one of the city’s bridges gave a nice view to Prague Castle,  a view which I’d captured on a previous evening,  and my initial thought was that I’d already got the photo of this view that I wanted.    At that point I noticed a distant flash in the sky as lightning lit up some clouds.    Aha!   I might have made a mess of the fireworks display but luckily for me,  mother nature was preparing her own sound and light show!

Lightning over Prague Castle, Czech Republic.
Lightning over Prague Castle, Czech Republic.

Photographing Lightning

I spent probably 30 to 45 minutes with camera on tripod taking shots as the storm moved mostly around and behind the castle.    There were a few issues to contend with.    The castle is brightly lit at night which against the dark evening sky makes for a huge contrast range.    Secondly,  I was set up on a bridge which,  although a very solid concrete and stone structure,  vibrated whenever a heavy vehicle drove on it.   Thirdly,  the unpredictable nature of the lightning,  there was no way of knowing just where,  when or if,  it would appear in frame.

I took over 200 frames and attempted 3 or 4 compositions,  working mostly at shutter speeds between 2 and 4 seconds.     It was really a case of trip the shutter and hope that lightning would occur during the exposure.    I ended up deleting some frames as they were affected by camera shake or should I say “bridge shake” due to traffic.    Of course a large number of the frames look virtually identical with no lightning present.

The image presented here was processed quickly on the laptop and involved some highlight recovery on those really brightly lit castle walls,  a little contrast control to emphasize those lightning bolts,  and some cropping to tighten up the composition a bit more.

I’ll process some more images from this evening,  but that can wait till I’m back home on a decent monitor.   :-)  ~KD.