Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Flash Of Inspiration, Well Lightning & My Epiphany With Twitter

Some of you may have already seen  the photo that follows, but this little blog explains just why that may have happened.

Those that know me, are aware that I had always resisted taking the plunge into facebook, twitter or the like. For me there are too many examples of people who play out their lives through these forms of social media, especially facebook, often airing in public things that should remain private, misconstruing whats others mean or simply typing drivel for the sake of it.

Whilst you may argue that I'm part of the later by blogging, I have no desire to -
  • Tell the world I'm having a garlic mayo moment
  • Announce what I'm having for tea and how I'm cooking it step by step
  • Multitask by typing that I'm eating my tea at the same time as I actually eat it
  • Setup a facebook page for my goldfish
  • Announce when I'm off on holiday so that some scrote can pay a 'visit' while I'm away! 

In simple terms this blog was as far as I was prepared to go with social media until.........

Saturday 25th January and I called into Halfpenny Green Airport for a quick cuppa with the fire crew during their break. As we sat in the crew room enjoying a brew I thought I saw a flash of lightning through the window but with nothing forecast it was simply dismissed. A few minutes later and a second flash caught everybody's attention and a quick step outside revealed a very dark sky and a storm to the East. As I was only on a social visit and hadn't ventured out to take any photos I didn't have much camera kit with me but I decided to take a chance at photographing the storm with the minimal kit I had. I managed one photo before the rain and winds arrived and I had to retreat indoors.

In short I managed to capture a lightning strike photo which I simply thought was ok, but nothing special. I had my lighter tripod and no cable release, the wrong lens and no ND filters so the exposure was shorter than I wanted, the sky brighter and it was slightly soft due to small camera shake. The one thing the photo did have going for it was the timing, an aircraft was repositioning on the apron and the lightning struck the ground directly inline with it, albeit about 600m beyond it. At first I didn't do anything with the photo, but as we had just started using twitter at Halfpenny Green I was persuaded to pop it on there just as something a little different.

Unknown to myself some friends at Westbeach Aviation had seen the tweet and decided to retweet it both generally and @ various other sites, all I can say is that it simply snowballed from there. As well as traveling all around the world via twitter it appeared on both BBC and ITV national news on Sunday night, made plenty of local papers, made plenty of national newspaper websites and some of the national daily newspapers this was my epiphany moment with twitter. It was only an average photo, but thanks to the efforts of the guys at Westbeach Aviation this was the photo that made me a convert to twitter.