I woke up on Christmas morning to flashes of light. It was probably about 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning and it took me a few moments to realize what was happening. There was no sound of thunder and only a slight breeze, but off the northern coast of Bali, a lightning storm was raging.
I really did have a tough time getting up. I was convinced that as soon as I got myself out of bed, got my camera and tripod, set them up, and hit the shutter, the storm would finish. I was very close to being right. This shot is the last big strike the storm made before dissipating into the dawn.
This was in 2004, the day before the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Bali’s shores were safe from those waves, and as I had been staying in a fairly remote village called Amed (see more photos from that village here) with no real media outlet to inform me of the disaster, I didn’t even know what had happened until a couple days later. I got to check my email and found a number of concerned messages in my inbox. I was fine, but had the earthquake happened a week later, I was slated to be in an area hit by the waves in Malaysia.
The Christmas storm I witnessed was, of course, unrelated, but when I see this image, I always make the association with the tsunami. The ocean that looks so peaceful here was soon to be so murderously turbulent. And the sky that was unaffected by the waves is here, in this image, in chaos. A reversal of the next day’s sea and sky.