Lightning #36M

Lightning #36M

November 22, 2014

This photograph was taken somewhere around fifteen years ago, down on the farm. Needless to say, it was shot on film, then the 4×6 inch print was scanned onto my computer where some digital adjusting was made to greatly darken the original print. In this particular image, I was able to add some additional lightning along the right side of the photograph, copied from another print, shot during the same storm. I also removed two very small, funky looking bolts long the top border. For years, these two bolts have stuck out like a sore thumb in the 20×30 enlargement hanging in my office (i.e., what should be my dining room). During the past year, I have worked with this print many times, as I now have nine different photos of the original image. I have yet to decide which photograph I like best.

This image, most likely an once-in-a-lifetime photo was shot as my band (i.e., my brothers Brian and Willie, though Willie was technically an ex-brother-in-law. Sadly, Willie passed away a few years back from a work accident) was loading their equipment into the SUV. They used to come out every other Saturday (visitation rights every other weekend, as we were all divorced) for a day of rocking, rolling, and drinking, in addition to cooking a big feast. Some sessions, a guest musician would sit in with the band. It was during those five years of playing rhythm guitar as they both played lead and sang, that I learned what little rhythm I now have. My talent level may be questionable, but I can keep time.

As they were loading their guitars and amps, and I was getting my farmhouse back in order (I am a neat-freak and perfectionist, and making matters worse, I now have OCD), I remember Brian coming back inside, telling me that I needed to go out and see the lightning. It did not take me long to go back inside to get my camera, tri-pod and cable release cord, set up and start shooting. It was the perfect storm, to borrow a pun, and since it was a good distance away, it wasn’t raining at my house. Shooting a whole roll of film that night, this image was the last one on a thirty-six exposure roll of film, which was a good thing as the very large bolt of lightning spooked me. The farmhouse sat up on a small hill, and I was out in the middle of the backyard attached to a metal camera and tri-pod, standing in the middle of two yard lights high up on telephone poles. That bolt was so huge it seemed like it came from way back over my head.

Perfect timing!

Steven H. Spring

Lightning #36C

Lightning #36C

This photograph was shot in the back yard of my old farmhouse one night many years ago as my two brothers were loading up their guitars and amplifiers after an afternoon and evening of hard partying, hearty eating and loud, loud music.   After my divorce, in which I bought my first guitar on the night of my fortieth birthday, Brian and Willie would come out every other weekend for a day and night of good times pickin’ and grinnin’.  Willie wasn’t technically my brother, but an ex-brother-in-law.  However, after playing alongside him all those many afternoons and evenings, I consider and refer to him as one.  Sadly, Willie passed away two years ago after being electrocuted at work.  He never sounded better the last time we jammed!

Every other weekend was party time down on the farm since they too, were divorced and had visitation with their kids every other weekend.  This did not affect me as after my son moved back home with his mother, I never had visitation with my two children.  Wesley lived with me for six months until his mother bought him three bicycles over a four-week period that Christmas, when she finally bought the expensive one he really wanted.  Even though I wrote the Common Pleas Court judge who presided over my divorce three or four times begging for help in getting visitation with my kids, not once did I receive any response to my request.  I guess the court system did not see any reason to legally enforce their own court appointed visitation schedule.  Thinking back, I went more than five years in which I never saw my children.  As a horrific example of how long I went without any visitation, several years ago, one Sunday afternoon a young man knocked on my door.  He knew who I was but I did not know him.  It took me several minutes to realize that this young man was my son.  I am still haunted to this day by the thought of not recognizing my own child.  I will never forgive my ex-wife for having stolen my two precious children from me.

Enough of my soapbox ranting…lets get back to the story behind this photograph.  After getting a glance of this magnificent display of lightning off in the distance, I quickly went back inside to grab my camera and tripod and went back out and started shooting.  If memory serves me right, I believe I shot a whole roll of film that night.  This particular picture was the last shot on that roll of film.  I must admit, however, that this very large bolt of lightning spooked me, as the farmhouse sat up on a small hill and I was standing out in the middle of the yard holding onto a metal camera sitting high up on a metal tripod.  This particular bolt of lightning seemed to stretch from the horizon to well over my head.

This coming week, I will be posting several more photographs that were shot during this same storm.

Steven H. Spring