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I have always dreamed of taking great pictures of a thunderstorm. Unfortunately, I don’t have the chance to just walk outside my door and go for a hike surrounded by impressive landscapes because I live in a big city, Vienna.
I told myself „someday you’ll catch a lightning… just give yourself time and the right moment will come“. I reckoned it might take me another 20 years or even longer to catch a great thunderstorm during a photo tour. One day I wanted to show my partner a wonderful view so I decided to take her to the top of the great mountain „Pilatus“ in Lucerne. At first I didn’t want to bring my camera, because I just wanted to relax and show my friend the wonderful view and night sky. Fortunately I decided to bring my camera nevertheless. When we arrived at the mountain top an amazing thunderstorm surprised us. The storm came closer and closer… everyone started to run down to the cable car station but I stayed. Something in my mind switched, I fell into a trance, I blended out everything around me, there was only the lightning and myself… face to face. I focused on the thunderbolts without any thoughts or fears. It was like a boxing fight; I wanted to catch the lightning and the lightning wanted to catch the shortest way to the ground, in this case: me.
Everything i could think about in this very moment was: „now is the time when I get you, I can get you and I will get you“. I told my partner to return to the cable car station while I prepared my tripod and my camera for the thunderbolt shooting. Thanks to my delirious mind I kept shooting the whole night. At the highest point of the mountain I could smell the electricity in the air and i could hear the sound of the electricity floating through the lightning arrester behind me. I realized it was dangerous to stay next to the arrester so I went a few meters down and prepared my camera for the next picture. Booooom… oh my god, it really happened, I was indirectly struck by lightning. It was like I touched an electric fence. Well, I kept shooting. I even worried about finding a better composition and climbed up to another peak. Booooom… indirectly struck by lightning again. On the way to the second peak I was holding my tripod up in the air and thought to myself: „I’m stupid, but those are the moments I live for, I live for what I do“. At 4 o’clock in the morning I finally headed back to the cable car station.
I’m unharmed and in safety now, but have to admit it’s completely reckless to stay at the mountain top during a thunderstorm, especially one that intense. But I felt that I just HAD to take this opportunity in order to get a unique shot no matter the cost. During this 8 hour long crazy night, I was hit by lightning twice and fortunately survived without any injuries. That’s the reason I named this picture IMMORTAL. I don’t want to do this again but as a photographer I can’t promise anything. Once I hold my camera in my hands and find an unusual scenery, I feel something shifting in my head. My perspective changes and I just start shooting.
Hopefully this story demonstrates the depth of not just the cover picture of this calendar but also my passion for photography.

Thank you,
Armin Amano