This is not the best post in the world, this is just a tribute.

I did something different last night and it felt fantastic. Last night, around 11.30pm I jumped in the car with a colleague that was heading in the same direction home. We both live north of the Harbour Bridge, in fact she lives in the same suburb my family do, my extended family that very kindly allowed me to stay with them when I first arrived in Sydney.

Another huge storm was heading towards Sydney (or so we were told earlier in the day) and we could see flashes of lightning on the horizon. My colleague thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to visit a great lookout near Mosman, a great point high up with fantastic views of the Sydney skyline. A bit of local knowledge that I wanted to take advantage of whilst I have the opportunity.

We went fairly last minute and it didn’t disappoint. Don’t get me wrong, having to use my iPhone torch to navigate the pathway to the lookout was a pretty daunting task as I still have a phobia of pretty much any animal that moves here. Humans included when we are wandering around a dark and empty place close to midnight.

The view I saw was one I won’t forget in a hurry. The high-rises stretched the length of the horizon, all lit up and providing a glow that brightened up the nights sky. In the foreground, ferries were navigating the pitch black ocean giving the illusion that they were floating. And then, as I was gazing up towards the skyline, a huge bolt of lightning made its way horizontally through the sky. It was bright yellow, I don’t know if the light pollution contributed to this. This bolt was different, it stayed long enough for me to really look at it for a moment and seemed to keep extending over the horizon. It was probably only a second in duration but felt much longer. Watching the flashes from such a great vantage point was pretty incredible. It also helped me imagine what war would be like to witness and that I am pretty damn fortunate to not have to experience war.

We stayed a little longer and watched the storm develop. Not long enough for it to head towards us, I’m not sure if it eventually did. I did nothing whilst there but gaze out as far as I could see.

But going back to my title. As I was heading home I noticed I didn’t get my phone out at any point. Not once did I feel the urge to put my hand into my pocket and reach for the camera. It wasn’t even that I thought about it and decided against it, it just didn’t enter my mind at all. It was refreshing, I was totally lost in the moment and this moment wasn’t ruined by a 21st century obsession. The only problem is I now don’t have evidence of this venture, only my words to paint a picture. I am sorry the picture is pretty vague.

Like the Tenacious D song Tribute, a song that isn’t the best song in the world but a song about the best song in the world. Sadly, the two members of the band managed to forget the words to the best song in the world that they heard that fateful night, so we only have a reminder that there was one at all. If only they had decent camera phones in the early naughties we wouldn’t have had this problem.

This post is similar. It was a great view, although I sadly cannot show you what I saw. This is just a tribute.

Sydney experienced an amazing storm last night

This morning, around 4.30am in Sydney’s CBD, I was awake at work and a HUGE storm rolled in. I was at the desk and I could see the early flashes on the horizon in the corner of my eye, before long it was right above us. Although I felt like one of the only people awake at the time right before this, I would be surprised if anyone was able to sleep through it.

If there is one thing that demonstrates the power of lightning, it is its ability to turn night into day. Now I am not sure if this is due to lightning, if anyone can confirm that would be great, but I was recording the skyline hoping for a huge fork to strike as it was doing so frequently and the moment a bright flash occurred, my camera stopped recording. This was annoying, however what was amazing was that my screen froze at the moment the flash lit up the whole sky. So, I took a screenshot of the moment that was frozen on my iPhone screen. The next picture here is a screenshot of the video before the lightning. The following image is during the flash.

How amazing is that? It is like nature is turning the light on. Also notice how the Harbour Bridge becomes clearly visible during a strike.

Notice how this shot only lights up the water.

I also love how nature really doesn’t give a damn. It’s 4.30am? Do I look like I care? I am going to unleash all fury anyway. I will flash, I will roar and I will leave when I am done. See you next time I am around, sleepyheads.

This kind of nature really does blow me away and fill me with fascination, although as I have admitted before, my perception can shift dramatically in a different mindset. In periods of depression or anxiety, storms terrify me. It highlights the aspects of nature that we still don’t truly understand, the uncontrollable and largely unpredictable nature of reality that we just have to ride out like a storm wave. The reality that we are in control of only a small aspect of life and this is evident every single day.

In periods of stress-free calm, as I have experienced thankfully the past few months, I can look at storms for their beauty and appreciate how far humans have come, to the point that a lightning strike containing millions of volts of electricity can be viewed from a relatively safe, care free zone. Hopefully I stay in this frame of mind so I can take all the goodness out of these natural events before the day comes that I won’t be around to see the show any longer.

This was almost great

I took this shot on Christmas Eve shortly after finishing work during a storm. Probably ten seconds went by and a great bit of fork lightning shot through the sky behind me and was reflected beautifully on the glass high rise on the right of this shot.

So this post is really just here to tell you that this could have been a great photo. I’m sorry it isn’t and I’ve wasted your time. It is a good reminder though that the more I keep my camera out the more chance I have of a cracking photo.

Missed opportunities

I wanted to post a little earlier than usual today due to a huge roar of thunder. You know the ones you can almost feel as well as hear. The ones that put your windows and underwear to the test.

I was still half asleep when I climbed over my bed and to the curtains, looking out to horizontal rain that I can only describe as painful had I not been sheltered. I love this kind of whether but for a different reason. I was hoping to have a beer outside as I did when I took this picture a couple of days ago, I don’t think today will be the day.

Sadly I didn’t stay awake long enough to watch the whole show. My body wouldn’t let me. It is sobering to think that I can only wake up when my body says so. I fall asleep when it says so too. I only came into existence when someone else’s body said so, that’s really crazy. My atoms were always out there somewhere, not organised enough to form a consciousness. The storm today was incomprehensibly small compared to the ones I have missed over the billions of years before my existence, smaller than the ones happening right now throughout the universe.

I shouldn’t solely blame sleep with this in mind, being awake doesn’t help much either. As I have posted previously, all we can do is stare and wonder. We know some of what goes on up in space, this isn’t enough to grant our senses the ability to focus on it.

It is frustrating to know what we cant see but it is pretty amazing that our species is developing tools that overcome this. Thankfully the future looks brighter than the skies today.