Weekend of Amazing Light
The weather in Split is usually very boring. We don’t have tornadoes, floods, snow or ice. Mild, sunny and warm climate must have been a good feature for Roman emperor Diocletian when he was deciding where to build his palace (retirement home) in Dalmatia. But it’s certainly not good feature for photography. Therefore, interesting weather occurrences in Split are rare, and even more rare are times when I’m, lightwise, in the right place at the right time.
It was raining on a daily basis those days, with dull and grey clouds hanging above the city the whole time. Yet, each afternoon, clouds would begin to break just before sunset. So on Saturday afternoon I went downtown to test my luck. That day it rained incessantly and – just as the previous days – began to brighten just before sunset. The sun appeared slightly above horizon and illuminated the city and clouds with golden light. It looked fantastic.
City’s main waterfront Riva looked fantastic in that golden light. Since there was still a light drizzle, the appearance of rainbow was pretty sure thing. I ran down the Riva towards Matejuška in order to capture the waterfront, the city and rainbow. Unfortunately, by the time I got there – the rainbow already disappeared. I took some photos but that was a pale image of what could have been.
Rainbow still had full arch when I was running towards Matejuška, but while I got there, it started to disappear…
St. Francis church bell tower:
The light was beautiful, yet, the opportunity to capture the unique photo was lost.
After the sunset, I went back to Riva and made some extra shots. Even then it didn’t look bad, clouds filled the frame just fine.
However, the bitter taste remained, I could not forgive myself for missing to capture Split waterfront and rainbow.
The next day, on Sunday, I decided to be a little smarter. The weather conditions were quite similar to the previous days. Therefore, already at noon I started following the satellite images of clouds, I was refreshing the page every half hour, going out to the balcony and stared at the clouds – hoping for them to move in the right direction. About an hour before ‘scheduled ‘ sunset – situation has been promising. Again, I was refreshing satellite images, looking from the balcony, refreshing, going out and in like a mad man, stuffing equipment in the bag, because – you never know. Rain was pouring on the city, but end of the clouds was already above the Vis island, some 30 miles from Split, across the sea. Will it arrive before sunset? It was approaching fast enough, but still …. It took a little longer to wait.
Twenty minutes before the sunset, the sky in the west suddenly brightened and turned yellow. There was no reason to wait anymore. I darted out of the house, sat in the car and raced downtown through soaked streets toward Matejuška, a place overlooking Split downtown and Riva waterfront. That was the best spot for the photo I wanted to take. The rain was constantly falling, and that was good.
By the time I got there, the rain became a downpour followed by strong gusts of northern wind. I could not even get out of the car, let alone take photos. Umbrella was futile attempt. However, I was decided – I’ll take an umbrella to at least protect my camera, other equipment remains in the car, and I’ll use my scarf will wipe the lens. Just when I got to the top of Matejuška pier, sun began to shine through the clouds and the intense double rainbow appeared over the Split.
I started taking photos like crazy – a panorama of the waterfront with rainbow arches above. The wind was blowing into my face, soaking my face, lens and the camera with rain. So, after each set of photos, I had to wipe the lens and begin again. I made many sets and hoped for some luck – to have at least one of the photos from each of them without water drops on the lens. After some 150 shots, I decided it was enough. The rainbow was fading and I was completely soaked. But ecstatic too….
After returning home, browsing through frames for most successful exposures, stitching, post processing and removing a few rain drops from the image, a Double Rainbow Over Split photo was done. One of my favorite photos I have ever photographed and certainly unique – nobody has ever taken the famous Split Riva skyline photo with the double rainbow above the city.