Birthday Celebrations!

Besides my lightning success the other highlight of July was my birthday!! It’s always a good excuse to go out and do something, and conveniently there was some free Blue Jays tickets going at work, so a few of us went down to the Skydome and had a watch. Here’s a little timelapse  of the Dome at night to give some atmosphere.

We didn’t get to see the end of the game however. Baseball games always go on until someone wins, which means when the usual 9 innings are finished they just keep going until someone wins! This’ll add anywhere between 2o minutes to several hours of extra time! With no end in sight and people asking when we were getting to bar we opted to head out, but not before taking a few snaps for prosperity’s sake.

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Not bad seats!!

The bar after was pretty hilarious, as is the way we got rather drunk (especially me) and had a fun old time!

On my actual birthday Nyssa took me out for fish chips, and a boat trip around on Lake Ontario. We enjoyed a few beers and caught the sunset really well which was very pretty.

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Beautiful clouds

And the night ended in the usual way, with a few whiskys!

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The quest for lightning….

Play this video while reading…

I’m a huge fan of thunderstorms. There’s something strangely primal about seeing nature’s fury play itself out over your head, completely out of control. I’ve seen lightning on the horizon from up on Edgewalk before, something which is truly spectacular, but even more amazing than this is seeing lightning hit the tower itself. (Not from Edgewalk of course!!) I’ve seen it a few times, but never managed to capture it on film.

Enter my new camera, a Sony A5000, that my parents helped me buy for my birthday. It’s not the flashiest/feature packed/expensive thing you can buy, but ideal for my amateur uses, and aspirations of taking cool pictures.

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It’s a proper camera

Capturing the lightning itself though has turned out to be quite tricky. The tower is struck about 75 times a year, so it’s easy to find a vantage point, but Mother Nature is an unpredictable beast, and a tease. In the lead up to writing this post I’ve spent many evenings flicking between other stuff and lightningmaps.org, watching storms developing to the west, hoping they hit the city, and gained a reputation at work for rambling incessantly about whether the next storm is going to hit Toronto.

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Its been burned into my retinas…

It’s taken some dedication, besides the late nights of Internet watching I’ve gotten up at 5am in the pouring rain, only to find the tower wrapped in rain and cloud, and lighting hitting on either side of it. I refer you to the video above….

Finally after 3 months of this I was finally gifted an opportunity. I was supposed to be going out with workmates, but with a big system approaching I packed a bag full of the usual waterproofs, camera in a dry bag, and lightningmaps on my phone. I got to the pre-drinks and after informing my workmates of my growing excitement, I was surprised to find them on board with what I was planning! Katie and Colin (whose apartment we were drinking in) took us upstairs to another room and a load of us sat down and watched the flashes coming in from the west. The pressure was slightly on me at the point; I’d essentially highjacked the night out, another “strikeless” evening could have made me very unpopular! Fortunately Mother Nature delivered the goods: 5 hits each more spectacular than the last, 4 of which I captured on video. Here’s the highlights below.

It turned out to be a great evening, it was really great to have everyone behind me, even though we didn’t make it to the bar (Sorry Romina!) I did a bit of crude image capturing from the video and got this picture. Something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life.

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Simply awesome…

As I write this the next system is tracking this way. Who know’s, perhaps tonight will be the big one….