This story was originally published in July 2012.
I was standing on the balcony of a cruise liner on the Mediterranean Sea— 50 miles from Barcelona, Spain. At around 7pm, I saw these thick clouds develop in the sky. I picked up my Nikon D80 and began to exhaust two 4GB memory cards for over an hour—in the hope of catching lightning strokes. What you cannot see in this photograph are the 70mph winds. It is a wonder I got any type of shot at all!
When I first saw this image on my computer, I was not impressed at all, and in frustration I almost deleted it. But when I looked at it again, I realised that it was too grainy because I had to use a high ISO (ISO 800, f4 at 1/13sec) in the failing light. Only when I toned the areas in Photoshop did the action and drama come alive.
Most of my work is very carefully composed. I will sometimes take up to an hour to set up for just one shot, look for the best angle and work for just that bit of good lighting. But for this photo, I had no control over the scene at all and was really only a passenger taking advantage of what was happening before me. It is very different from my usual work, which is perhaps why it is a favourite.Tags: My Best Shot, nikon d80, July 2009, Kevin Burns, Spain, Shooting on a ship