I live in a place with a Mediterranean climate that gets about 5 thunderstorms a year, and very small ones. I spent about 3 weeks on the high plains above the Southern Drakensberge of South Africa. It wasn't peak rain season, but I got very lucky and witnessed one monster of a storm. I just saw this black mass in the sky drifting towards me, with a luminous blue/green color on the horizon.
I decided it would be a good plan to shoot it at the edge of a dam which was about 500 meters from the road. I kept shooting until the first strike fell way too close for comfort and then I ran for my car. The rain reached me just as I got to my car and the strikes were falling everywhere. Having never experienced a storm of this scale, I was scared to shit. I had always heard thunder as a deep rumble, but for the first time I understood what crackling thunder was. I had to drive through the storm or try and outrun it and get out beneath it to the side, but it was already too late and I had to drive through it anyway. The rain was pouring down and the lightning was striking at least twice a second. It fell within 250 meters a few times where the strikes look a good 10 meters wide and it's followed by a sound that sounds like the earth cracking open. About 80mm of rain fell in 40 minutes in a region that gets 400mm a year.
Right now I'd give anything to experience that storm again! When I was out of it, I drove a good distance away before I felt it was safe to get out of the car.
The size of the landscape here is very hard to judge. The dark green strip is trees encircling my aunt's farmstead and it's a very large farm.
Stormberg district, South Africa
All rights reserved. This may not be used or reproduced in any way