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The Girlfriend and Lightning

On the 17th of January Adelaide received an enormous electrical storm . Over the past 12 months I have been shooting an old fJ Holden that I call “ The Girlfriend” , some of you have been following bits and pieces of the progress.I have been shooting her for the entire year. It’s just a project that I have been working on for myself. I have no idea what I’ll do with the images. It is always nice when you can shoot your own personal projects.Does there have to be a reason behind shooting a project? For me no, it is the pleasure that it brings to me and this is why I do this project.

The only mood that I haven’t caught above her is lightning.

During the course of the year I have shot her in so many moods including getting a  180 degree rainbow above her  and I had been waiting for 3 hours in the field freezing my butt off  to get that shot.

Its has taken a year to get the lightning but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. As you can see by my the pics, I did get lighting but I have an image in my mind in how I would like to capture her with the lightning and this is my first attempt.

The height of the lightning storm which was what I was looking for, came with the rain and this was too hard to shoot.I was out there, in the rain to begin with as I had to cover the camera up but in the end, it was too hard and I didn’t want to totally destroy my gear on this night.

Other parts of Adelaide where I live, had an amazing time with the lightning and stunning images emerged as the days passed.

I still have to wait for the second round but hat is ok.When I get what I’m looking for, It will be worth the wait.

As I stood in the field and  the landscape was lighting up all around me, it was scary at times. The best things in life are free. It doesn’t cost you anything to sit wherever you are and to watch such a stunning light show.I’ve said this before and these thoughts came rushing back to me.

This was stunning in all epic proportions. My shots fail to show how epic it was and they don’t do justice to the majesty that was shown on this night.

Standing in the field showed me once again how small we are in the context with what is around us in terms of natural world and although small, no way are we  insignificant.

I personally think God created the lightning that we see and experience , to show us  and to be a reminder to us how amazing are all the acts of creation that He has done. This is a small part of his creativity.We don’t have these acts of creation asa mindless thing to watch, there is a purpose behind of all that we witness.

At times the flashes were so bright I struggled to see what was in front of me and I knew that to was extremely close. Was I sacred, hell yeah but there was also a sense of awe and wonder with what was happening before me.I was almost wetting my self.

I placed Shadow my golden retriever in the car as he doesn’t like the thunder and lightning. Before the light show had started he was out there with me and he had the whole field to roam in and yet, where did he stand and sit, right on top of my feet! haha

As the rain came tumbling down the lightning continued to increase and it looked so angry as it stabbed the earth with such vengeance. The force was incredible.

I may be waiting another 12 months to complete the project as we only get lightning like that several times a year, so who knows when it will take place again but be sure to know, I’ll be back there waiting for the lightning bolts to dance around the girlfriend.Dance they did and it was poetic and a shame to a point that I couldn’t capture that due to the rain.

Often in life we pursue things that we think will give us ultimate thrills and happiness, these are usually the material things and they cost us in so many ways. I’m not saying it’s wrong to experience what life has to offer at al in terms of the material world, but for some they pursue these things as if they are going to gain the ultimate fix in life, the ultimate pleasure in life and the ultimate fulfillment in life.

I can never understand the mentally when people line up over night to get the latest iPhone  or what ever it is. Why do that when you can go a few days later to buy one over the counter if you need it. Those who line up for days, hours to purchase their “ savor” I say that tongue in cheek, within a week, it will just be sitting on the couch somewhere, the wonder worn off, the burning desire to have it in your hands, worn off and so what was the advantage of being part of the frenzy to own one in the first place.

We have all at some stage, including myself, have been seduced with the power of marketing, we are told that we need this, you want this, you have to have it and advertisement   controls how we think, what we think off,  and in the end, it determines what will “ make us happy”

I stood out with the girlfriend and these things flashed through my mind and I was thinking,  that what I was experiencing and most of Adelaide would have been watching this awe inspiring light show :I was reflecting on this and thinking, what a  better world we would have if people found more joy and a sense of wonder  and delight in the natural landscapes around them, the things of nature, the awesome acts of creation.

I’ve said this before and yes, Im a broken down records but I’m at most peace with myself when I’m just out there in  the middle of nowhere. Being with the girlfriend, the worries i have, ( I’m human I have them like you all) just seemed to disappear, they varnish and all that is important for me, is witnessing just a small part of God’s infinite creativity.

A simple walk on the beach is all you need to reassess things,it  does wonders for your soul and being out in the field with The girlfriend does the same for Pete. It is a  privileged to see the lighting light up the sky, that will always live with me even if I don’t get another crack at it

I didn’t get the shot that I was hoping for but it was still worth to be out there and to be an observer with what was taking place around me.

When was the last time you sat on a hill, sat down the beach, was still for a moment to allow the breeze to blow through you as you sat to be a silent observer. When you do that, you will noticed much happening around that that you would have not noticed before.

No matter where we come from, no matter what our world views are,no matter how we interpret the meaning of life, why is it that most of us deep down marvel at the natural world. Why do with say  ohhh arrrrghhhh wow etc  at the lighting shows, a wonderful sunset or sunrise, why do we react in such a deep emotional way when we see something emotive in the act of creation?

Well for me the answer is simple. We react that way coz deep down when God created all that is before us, we have his seed deep within that gives us that deep sense of appreciation. We may not see it that way at first, but I do believe that most of us do marvel at the awesome acts of creation,  and for me, this is because we are made in the image of God and we have His sense of wonder in us, his creative seed deep within.

The lightning and being inspired by these sensational acts is just the tip of the ice berg for us.

What are the things that move you most, what are the things that inspire you most, what are the things that give you the greatest pleasure? The material doesn’t cut it and you know deep down the answers to those questions  and they might be slightly different for all of us  and yet, Im sure for most, we know deep down the latest toy, latest electronic device doesn’t give us what we are looking for in terms of satisfaction and fulfillment.

We live in the electronic age, where we are told that all the mod cons, push buttons, programmed times are meant to make life easier, being in touch with social media , twitter, facebook, pinrest, four squares etc  and yet in the end , all they do is enslave us to it and we have lost our sense of freedom and life is not easier for it, it’s more complicated and raises many other concerns for us.

The shot that  I need for the girlfriend with the lightning will come another time and !’ll be back there when it happens, in the meantime, I encourage you to go for that walk on the beach, to go for that drive, to sit on top of that hill and be still.

We are made as social beings, we are made if possible to be with someone, to share the joys that we have, in my case, you experience the simple things in life which are in turn the most rewarding things.

Keep clicking away and I’ll leave you with this thought in closing..

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean




The shot below is not much of a shot but I have included it as this shows the lightning flash to be so strong that it lit the landscape up so much a and to do this the ISO that I was on, the lightning had to be very strong and bright. This was one of those moments when I couldn’t see too well for a moment .


Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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