Australian Weather Calendar: December 2016

December photograph by Cathryn Vasseleu

The Australian tropics experience two distinct seasons—‘dry’ from May to September and ‘wet’ from October to April. As the end of the year approaches, temperatures increase in tropical areas and a shift in the prevailing wind direction brings increased moisture into the area from warm oceans to Australia’s north. ‘At that part of the build-up,’ says Darwin local Cathryn Vasseleu, ‘up until about December, there’s really big lightning storms but it’s not raining—so you can get photos of big lightning strikes because you’re not in peril of being drenched. Where I took the photo is a popular spot that people actively come to view the lightning.’

‘Up here, lightning is almost a way of life,’ adds Cathryn. ‘It’s part of the pleasure of the build-up to the wet season.’

Cathryn used a Canon 5D Mk2/3 on a tripod, with a lightning trigger: ‘The trick is to second-guess where the strike’s going to be. I’d watched it a lot, so I had a good idea,’ says Cathryn. ‘You set the tripod up, with the lightning trigger, and stand by and make sure everything’s working. You see fantastic strikes, but whether or not they actually come within viewfinder is something that’s part of the excitement of taking the photos … you have to commit to the spot and see what plays in the field of view of the camera.’