In late December 2008, my family and I were camping at Birubi Beach Holiday Park when we heard some of the “neighbours” talking about a big storm approaching. I booted up my laptop, connected to the NextG wireless modem and checked the weather radar. Sure enough, a massive cell was heading straight towards our location. We had about an hour before it was going to be upon us.
As the wind started picking up, the campers busied themselves putting away loose materials and tying down their tarps and tents. Once my household duties were complete, Jacob and I went for a walk to the nearby carpark up at the Birubi Beach Surf Club to take some pictures of the approaching storm.
Here’s my best image of the set, the last in chronological order.
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The image above is a 3-frame panorama, and each frame is a HDR combination of 3 exposures.
The lightning flashed in the distance while bathers on the beach were blissfully unaware of what was about 30 minutes away. Jacob and I moved down from the heights of the carpark, closer to the beach to get some different angles and different foreground for our photos.
This image is the first of the series, and was taken from the higher carpark level.
It’s a 7-frame panorama, with generous overlap between each frame. Each frame was a single exposure, and the panorama was put together in AutoPano Pro and then processed for contrast and vibrance in Photoshop.
As the sky darkened and the wind picked up some more, the beach-dwellers started packing up and the long stream of 4WD’s on Stockton Beach driving back for safer shores was evidence enough that it was a storm they didn’t want to get caught in.
The image below, the second from the set and the last in this photo-essay, is a 5-frame panorama, where each frame is a 3-exposure HDR image.
The storm was getting really close now, it felt like it was about 10 minutes away and the increase in lightning flashes was starting to worry Jacob and he wanted to head back to the relative safety of our tent. His timing was spot on; we reached our tent for some final tightening of the ropes and in less than 3 minutes, the rain was falling.
Luckily the wind had dropped off and it ended up as just a heavy rain storm with lightening and some very small hail in parts. We were very pleased to have bought a much larger tarp the day before and put it up that morning!
About 30-45 minutes later, the main part of the storm had continued on it’s way North-East, leaving us with a much cooler, but wetter camp area, and some good stories to tell around the camp kitchen that night.
Thanks for reading.