On Wednesday after work I drove down the Duncan a short way into the hills near Old Halls Creek. There was a spectacular lightning storm playing on the hilltops, with a strike almost every five seconds. I wanted to get closer and see if I could capture some images. The road was already soggy, and little did I know that the Shire was even then in the process of closing it to traffic. Driving on a closed road up here carries a fine of $1000 per wheel. That is a hefty fine for any car driver, but consider the plight of the hapless operator of a road train. However I had a Shire logo on my car door, and in any case no one was looking for me.
It was very exciting to be in the valley, as the hills around me were periodically lit by great jagged streaks of lightning, arcing and sparking like ancient giant geological van der Graaf generators or Tesla coils. From the proximity in time of the lightning bolts and thunderclaps I guessed that some of the lightning was striking less than 500m away. Others were way off in the farther hills. It was exhilarating, but also frustrating because I soon realised I should have taken my tripod along so I could take longer exposures with a smaller aperture to improve my chances of a good shot. As it was, wherever I pointed my lens, the lightning struck just out of frame every time, dancing around me tauntingly. In the end, I just put the camera down, sat back and watched. I don’t think I have seen such a light show. It lasted for half an hour and surrounded me completely. I was immersed in light and sound. Even as I drove home in the deepening dusk, brilliant flashes continued to light my way.
I see why the Kimberley is known as the lightning destination for tourists.