Friday, 13 April 2012

Dawnwatch 02/04/2012 Dynamic Dawn

Dawn from an East-Facing Balcony in Sydney
This is the closest I’ll ever willingly get to a lightning storm.  It didn’t seem dangerous because there were no terrifying crashes of thunder and the storm seemed to be confined to the clouds quite some distance away.  Otherwise, I assure you, I would be huddling under the bedcovers.  Leave the standing in a thunderstorm for dramatic pictures to the professional photographers who presumably either know what they are doing and/or are covered by comprehensive life insurance.

Dynamic Dawn:  Monday 2 April 2012
A grey dawn of no interest whatsoever; a thick cloudbank with no break up to the treetops. I decide that, since I'm up, to drink my morning cuppa in the fresh morning air - with loaded camera just in case, of course.  And the just in case happened.  I couldn't help but notice these flashes of light exploding on an otherwise dull and grey morning.  What was causing it?  What was happening?  Where was it coming from?

Turns out there was a lightning storm over the horizon behind the oak tree, pretty much where the sun would be rising.  I took quite a few photographs before facing the fact that if you want to shoot lightning storms, you have to use video.  Very nervous doing so for fear it would fill up my camera's memory card quickly, and half way through I ducked inside to empty said card onto my computer and rush back outside for more video capture.  I have posted the results on YouTube with the following links.

The first video shows a lightning flash.  Mystery solved as to the where and the what of the lightning flashes.  From this perspective, it looks like the lightning is hitting the shedding oak tree.  The second video gives you a light display, flashes of light from the lightning.  The third video starts with one almighty kaboom of a flash; if you blink, you’ll miss it.  I cut the video short to edit out the roar of the garbage truck.  In fact, if you listen, you can't hear any thunder - I didn't at the time, either - and instead you'll hear the chirrupping of early morning birdsong.

That was the other interesting thing about this dawn - the birds.  They were out in force, along with the bugs, namely, mayflies and dragonflies.  I think dragonflies eat mayflies.  There was no reason for the dragonfly to fly into and play with the ball of mayflies.  Of particular interest was the Indian myna that appeared very, very proprietorial about the telegraph pole.  I have seen that myna a couple of days ago perching on the telegraph pole, but this time...well, see for yourself in the videos below. 
In the first video you’ll see the Indian myna beginning his investigation of the telegraph pole.  The second video is actually a continuation of the first; I accidentally switched the video off.  By the time I had switched the recording on again - just a few seconds - the myna had jumped up to the top wire and continued its most thorough investigation.  

Video number three is a series of pictures where I really, truly wish I had had the video function of the camera going, but I’m still wrestling with how to use it.  Sort of like the myna trying to make sense of the telegraph pole, because this video shows some truly bizarre gymnastic investigative work.

After yet more investigation of the telegraph pole’s wires, the fourth video suggests the myna is surveying the nearby trees for a possible nesting site.  I think.  Whether the lightning storm had any connection with the bizarre antics of the myna bird will forever remain a mystery.

No posters or mug souvenirs today.  The charm of today's dawn rests entirely in the dynamics, which give rise to the title.  Stay tuned for another myna update in two days' time, for the dawn of Wednesday, 4 April 2012.

Don’t forget your humble photographer also writes fantasy adventure fiction under the name of S E Champenby.  Paperbacks and epubs available from at S E Champenby’s store.

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