I'm standing in a field near my house after sunset, hoping to see and photograph an ICBM launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, some 500 miles to the west. As the minutes pass and nothing seems to be happening in the west, my attention is drawn to a storm approaching from the south. I swing my camera around in the hopes of getting some lightning photos instead. The lights of passing cars on the street will make an interesting foreground. Two police cars, emergency lights flashing, pull a car over right where my camera is pointed. Oh, well, may make an interesting effect. I'm sure they can't see me in the darkness, and don't know they're in my picture. I open the shutter and wait.
KABOOM! A huge bolt crashes in the distance, just in the right direction. Knowing I've captured it, I close the shutter and head for home ahead of the storm. I find out later that the rocket launch happened 15 minutes after I gave up and went home. That's okay, it was a rewarding evening anyway.
This photograph appeared on NASA/USRA's Earth Science Picture of the Day site on May 22, 2001.
Date: July 7, 2000, 8:43pm
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR, on tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100 slide
Lens: 100mm at f/5.6, 90 seconds
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-10E (cropped)