Lightning is among the most elusive forces of nature that photographers chase once in a while. It’s one of those things where a generous sprinkling of luck and right timing can lead to some really breathtaking images.

Last year, Johannesburg-based photographer and filmmaker Elsa Bleda was at the right place and the right time when this celestial light show happened. She has some stunning photos to prove it! If beautiful lightning photos are still on your shot list, her colorful abstract treatment of the subject will inspire you to keep chasing those glorious and bright moments.

Midnight flashes of color

Titled “Heavens,” this collection is pretty straightforward. All we know from Bleda is that she took these photos of magnificent lighting flashes during midnight (or several midnights) in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

These were also likely shot before or after heavy downpours, as we can gather from the thick clumps of clouds illuminated by the streaks of lightning. The combination makes for a simple but dramatic display of nature’s electric energy.

The perfectly timed captures are already impressive on their own. But to make them even more eye-catching, Bleda also enhanced the tinge of neon colors revealed by the electric flashes. The result is a minimalist color study that doubles as a reminder of the beauty in the most powerful forces of nature.

Photos that you can hear and smell

Apart from the abstract art look, I also like how this set gives off a vibe of photos that you can hear. Once they grab your attention straight away with brightness and color, you can almost hear the clap of thunder that follows a lightning flash.

Because of the colors and the presence of the clouds, some of the snaps also trigger the faint smell and cold air of incoming rain. Maybe that’s just be, but it would be interesting to know what sensation, feelings and maybe even memories that this atmospheric series triggers for you!

Photographing something as fast and fleeting as lightning flashes is definitely a challenge, especially if you’re also looking for the best vantage points to shoot from. The conditions that bring about this frenetic light show are also unpredictable and unsafe at times. Still, I’m sure that the electric heaven revealed in Bleda’s capture will continue to inspire photographers to be fast and keep the chase going!

If you liked this series, make sure to check out Elsa Bleda’s Behance portfolio to see more of her impressive photography projects.

All photos by Elsa Bleda. Used with Creative Commons permission.