Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The full story behind this photo

This shot was a spur of the moment idea, sitting in the new BMW ActiveHybrid 5 with the "Mrs Fast", aka Clare Vale, waiting for my next lift after spending a day at the Zwartskops Racetrack. There was a thunderstorm lighting up the sky in the distance, and we decided to try and shoot the car with some fork lightning in the background.

I did not have a tripod on me, so I used my RedBull can, denting it to use it as a stabilising device.  Then we sat, trying to capture lightning. Amazingly, I did get a shot with a single stream of fork lightning, but it looked pathetic in comparison to the amounts of fork lightning I kept missing.

We even repositioned the car a few times, to try and keep the lightning in the background, but the weather gods refused to listen... and this is where it all went wrong.

We mocked the weather gods, and then in the distance I noticed some dust, I thought it was a car pulling off to the side of the road, next thing my vision was blurry and a breeze was felt. This breeze did not stop. It only got stronger. Road signs started falling over, my camera blew over and my eyes were stinging with dust. The car in front of me had pretty much vanished.

Clare was battling to walk and I was afraid I'd fly off my feet and loose my camera, we made a hasty retreat to the car. Got into it just as the rain started coming down and the ground beneath us shook and the sky lit up in a mighty clap of thunder.

Looking over my shoulder, I saw it, a full tube of dust, so thick that you couldn't see through it. And it was twirling over the road before us, cars were slamming on breaks, their hazard's lighting up as everyone driving suddenly were forced to stop, blinded by the dust.

We had been outside, and caught in a twister. It was both a frightening and exciting experience, but not one I'd like to live through again. Clare and I quickly decided to stay inside of the BMW, and call an end to mocking weather gods and photography for the night.

So this photo, was taken about 2 min before the twister hit us, and I confess, in the original, there was no lightning. I've added in a photography from Raf Winterpacht (

So my original was shot at f5.0 with a 15 second exposure.

The review of this remarkable car will be on RunRideRive sometime in the near future.

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