The One with all kinds of Light

As I shared in my last post, I recently fulfilled a long time dream of capturing lightning in a photo.  While I got a few that were decent enough to make me happy, this one is truly my favorite.
14.0 sec | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | Nikon D800 | 50 mm f/1.8

There are so many reasons why I love this photo.  One of which is the fact that usually photographs are fleeting moments, but this was a long moment.  Fourteen seconds to be exact.  But it took me even longer to get to those fourteen seconds.  After finding the perfect vantage point on my way home to grab my camera, it took me about ten minutes to settle on the lens and the settings I ended up using for this photo.  

First, I had to decide between two different lens options.  Did I want to be close to the lightning and attach my zoom lens, or get more of a landscape of the storm with my 50 mm lens?  I decided to go with the 50 mm which I can now confirm was the correct decision.  I then automatically set my camera to Bulb for the shutter speed.  But I was at a loss for exactly what settings to use after that.  I played around with the ISO and aperture while snapping shots to finally decide on 100 for the ISO because I wanted to leave the shutter open for a while but also capture a good amount of light from the lightning and then 4.5 for the aperture because I wanted the lightning to be the only thing in focus.  

Then I finally reached those fourteen seconds.  Seconds are not usually considered to be a long time.  But considering that the "smile and look at the camera" photos we are all accustomed to are taken in a fraction of a second, fourteen seconds seemed like a whole minute.  

This is also a favorite photo of mine because I was in my car and listening to an audio book which is undoubtedly one of my happy places, even though I was parked in front of a random house.  I'm sure that seems like a strange vantage point, but to me taking a photo that means something to me in a random place makes that specific place special to me and only me.  I'll always remember taking this picture: where, when, why, and how.  And it will always only be that special to me.

I wish I had the ability to go through this process each and every time I wanted to take a picture.  Unfortunately, I am unable to carry my DSLR around with me all the time since the camera body alone is over two pounds, and then there's the battery grip, lenses, an external light, and other accessories.  This predicament is when most people resort to taking pictures on their phones.  

Because I am a bit of a penny pincher, I have a phone that often draws attention from people in all the wrong ways.  "Why don't you have an iPhone?" "What even is this thing?" "How do you turn this thing on?" "Let's take the picture on my iPhone instead..."  While I do wish my phone had a much better camera, iPhone cameras don't impress me enough to be worth the money.  I would rather spend my money on a small camera that packed a larger punch than any phone could.  

Normally, when I want a good picture badly enough, that I means I lug around my heavy DSLR for an entire day. This is why, as a part of the #VantagePoint project, I am so looking forward to the release of an amazing new compact camera from Light Co.  I have been wondering when someone would create a more compact version of a DSLR for years now.  If you have not yet checked out the Light L16, I urge you to do so for the simple reason of seeing how amazingly technology can move forward when great minds work together. 

Here's to innovation, photography, and all kinds of Light!

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