1.21 Gigawatts

Great scott!

Great scott!

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Photo Frisbee sponsored by Marilyn and her Serendipity blog.  For just the second time in the seven week history of the photo story prompt, I am digging into my real, touchable, pre-digital film pictures for your viewing pleasure!

On August 19, 1995, me and (most of) my family were attending the baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals at good old cookie cutter Busch Stadium.  With the score tied at 4-4 after the third inning, one of the Midwest’s infamous heat driven summer evening storms came roaring through, which sent the game into a rain delay.  I had my handy dandy little 35mm camera with me since it was “photo day,” where the players and coaches came out onto the field prior to the game for us adoring fans to take pictures of.  The event was sponsored by the king of photo kiosks, Fox Photo…

Yes, Fox Photo's mascot also made himself available for Photo Day.  Isn't he adorable?

Yes, Fox Photo’s mascot also made himself available for Photo Day. Isn’t he adorable?

I could bore you to utter tears by showing you pictures of the nameless nobodies that made up the 1995 Cardinals (Like #48 Tony Fossas up there), but baseball has nothing to do with why I drug out this photo set for you today.  I had a single bullet left in the old camera after the parade of ballplayers was over, and during the rain delay, I used it to hit the fucking jackpot with this shot…

Yes, that is a bolt of lightning.  Taken with a FILM camera.

Yes, that is a bolt of lightning. Taken with a FILM camera.

I could take a thousand random shots during a thunderstorm with my digital camera that allows for infinite mulligans and never capture a shot like I got in one take with my 35mm that night.  I had no idea I even got the lucky shot until the film got developed a few days later and of course, the lightning picture was not in the envelope along with the rest of the positives.  I checked the negatives, and noticed that final picture had a jagged black streak running through it that I was positive had to be my bolt of lightning.  The hacks at the grocery store photo lab didn’t bother to develop it because they thought it was just a blank picture of nothingness.

Much like a lot of the photos I took back in the day.

Much like a lot of the photos I took back in the day.

When I pointed it out to my Mom, she sent the negative back to the store and demanded they develop that final frame… and voila!  A one in a million shot of nature at its most scary beautiful!

Let’s celebrate with a little music, shall we?


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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17 Responses to 1.21 Gigawatts

  1. Ally Bean says:

    That is cool photo. And what a trip down memory lane… film… having photos developed… in the grocery store. Makes me not long for it at all!

    • I was so excited to show off this picture, that I didn’t even notice the entity that developed the pictures until after I hit Publish. It was my dear old Mecca… thought three years before I would come into their employ.

  2. Why, just yesterday, I took out my camera, turned it on and it was blank. “OH NO” I cried, until I remembered I needed to remove the lens cap.

    I can’t even COUNT the number of shots I’ve taken of storms in the hopes of getting ONE SINGLE LIGHTNING BOLT. Never done it, in all these more than 40 years — the film years, the sort of digital years, the very digital years. I mean, i could ADD one using Photoshop, but what fun would that be?

    Congratulations. I am envious. I think I’m doomed to never capture the lightning. Cursed by Zeus, I am.

    • A few years before this, I took the camcorder out on the back porch during a storm to try and capture some nice streaks of lightning. I couldn’t even get a single one with a video tape! Yet…. this absolute dumb luck. Heck, just this morning, there were FOUR squirrels chasing each other around in the rounded part of my cul de sac, right in front of my house. I couldn’t manage a single decent picture of them before they split up and disappeared….

  3. the photo is a treasure… I’m not even able to get one with my slr cam… and you did it with a FILM cam! BRAVO!!!

    • Total luck. I’d never be able to duplicate that with my digital camera because of the delay between pressing the button and actually taking the picture. The 35mm just shot when I pressed the button, and I not only had excellent reflexes, but apparently a vivid bolt that didn’t just quickly disappear…

  4. Mental Mama says:

    That’s awesome! About a zillion years ago I actually knew how to develop 35mm film.

    • One of the things we did in school once was make a one-shot camera out of a can of Quaker Oats, and were shown how to develop the film. I can’t imagine any teachers taking the time to do that anymore since it’s not part of the standardized tests.

      I recall not caring much for the photo developing chemicals!

  5. Trisha says:

    How amazing to catch that! Especially on film! I always found very few treasures in my packages of newly developed photos and a treasure back in the film days was a photo that had all of the subject in the frame. I never captured anything half as cool as a lightning bolt!

    • One of the first batch of pictures I ever took with my 35mm was on our trip to Chicago in 1989. I got a neat picture of one of the highways looking down from a pedestrian overpass, but half of the other pictures had either one of my fingers or the camera strap obscuring something. I did manage to shake that habit… but still, even though I was trying to capture a lightning shot, getting one and having it be that vivid was a total fluke I am doomed to never repeat…

  6. draliman says:

    I’m so jealous – I would love to accidentally (or on purpose) capture a cool lightning photo. Maybe next thunderstorm I’ll find a golf course and wait for someone to do a “Caddyshack”.

    • Have you seen the famous photo of the two hikers with their hair standing on end, which was taken just seconds before they got fried by a lightning bolt? Holding a one iron in one hand and a camera in the other might make for an interesting selfie opportunity if you are so brave! Just click when you feel the tingle! 😉

  7. gentlestitches says:

    David Bowie, Knock, knock, Knock on wood.<3

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