If the sky was going to do this, I prefer this distance. Though I understand ground currents from Lightning can hit you many miles away. This Storm is 20 miles south and I’m on rubber tires. You can see the somewhat obscured “wall” cloud surrounding the center of the much larger Mesocyclone storm that though centered south, is over us like a hat brim on a Stetson™.
I close the camera down to light and give the shutter 5 seconds in early twilight. It’s dusky dark which is how I finished the image. This is effectively a short time exposure. Caught two lightning events here. The left two went first followed quickly by the right bolt in the hail shaft.
This is the last post of mine before Facebook transitions to an entirely new format the first of September 1. I post all my FB work using software, not direct posts. When they beta tested the New FB months ago, tried it, my system of posting failed miserably. I have NO IDEA how this is going to work or not as of tomorrow morning (as this posts). We have a “ticket” into our software company a week old now. As I type this, it is the 25th of August. If I miss any number of normally scheduled posts during this change over, I apologize ahead of time. I will figure it out.
IT was/is VERY dry out. It has been in the 90’s for an extended period. Precipitation has been low all year. In HUGE contrast to the previous year.
A long day ended and an instant after I closed my eyes it seemed. Out of the night I was awakened by the rumble in the distance through the walls of my homestead. Generally being pretty quiet up here but for the roosters in the morning, I sat up to take notice. My fire watch instinct kicked in… On went the fire resistant pants and wool socks. I get to the porch all dressed up…. It started to rain…. pretty well.😜
Lightning flashed every 5 or 10 seconds but most of it was not visible to me where I stood. My window under a metal roof this night was fairly limited by the wind. I hesitate to put expensive gear out where left unattended, it might get knocked over or soaked. So I keep it close. I do keep a properly built “ground ring about my homestead. In 2 decades of living here. I’ve never had a lightning strike come into the house. I learned to build “ground rings” after building several Ham Radio Shacks and a communications tower on hill tops. Burying copper wire or water pipe recycled is a good way to get a proper path to ground before ground currents get you. It’s always better to have the best ground outside your place.
This was actually a pretty rough storm up on the ridges. I pulled the truck off the top with the top winds (at my house clocked at 54 mph). I was up in the storm so I’m pretty sure I was in 60 mph winds. Pulling my truck on the backside of a hill helped moderate the buffeting. No hail other than slush. Since my truck is already a hail victim, I’m not so worried now about the little storms. I know it’s limits. It’s already golf ball hail tested lol.
The leading edge of the center of these big curved Mesocylcones (the kind of storm here) is where the rain comes out. The hail you can see in the distance. I have to fight rain with cameras so parking such to keep the water out of the lens is handy. Not always possible. About the time those rain/slush shafts hit. I had to put all the gear in it’s baby seat. Then I headed for wind cover off the topographic high. The max wind on our ranch this year in July clocked at 84. That is above the 78 mph we got in 2015. We have had some wind damage along with the fire (by lightning) and hail storm in early July. I’m thinking 2020 is a “Mulligan” year.
This is a harsh environment. I can’t imagine much damage on a sod roof of the 1910 homesteader up here. The 3 inch hail that caused so much damage here recently wouldn’t have hurt anything but the grass around them (might just be a big deal). But it didn’t break the host of plastic things we have in our environment. In the model T days, I suspect the metal was such that it wasn’t going to dent lol. The glass… I’m sure there were replacements in the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. 🤔
Talk about a busy photo. I swear rainbows and lightning in the same image together is not a common thing to happen in front of your lens. You have to hunt this stuff and then set up the possibility. It was very dark but I could see the “Right Turn Clyde” sign to align it with the the blurred windmill. (you remember those two Shows 1978 and 80 right). The Windmill had a great view of the rainbow that had formed with a faint compliment secondary rainbow. This was very late and the only light left for the rainbow was the long traveled pink light. Normally you see this as a pink Belt of Venus on the frozen atmospheric ice.
Here the “Belt of Venus” pink backshow light was all that available to the rain droplets to refract back to my lens. The pink color being as strong that night as I have seen it in a summer evening. I’ve seen it WAY stronger in the winter. Winter of course is the time of year to watch Alpenglow in the Wyotana skies. All the ice makes for amazing shows. The same light reflects in a much darker shade off of water droplets than ice crystals. Light to amazing pink in the winter is standard, this openly cranberry color is an odd one for me to see. Thus it is my gold standard to finish the image. It made a huge impression on me at the time.
Obviously I have several finished images from this timeline. Each a little different in it’s coloration as the sequence of events played out in front of me. There are times I REALLY love doing this.
Pointing a camera where a bolt had just hit has a good probability that a repeat performance is in order. It took me a second to zoom into where I thought the last strike was based on the residual image left on my retina . So I moved the camera, got it all set up just in time Flash…1,2,3,4 BOOOOM…. So not quite a mile just over the hill we call “Dobie” (don’t ask me why it’s called that). Looks to be a ground to cloud bolt..
It’s not too often I get a really large (OK, huge) bolt like this completely on the frame without cropping down a larger image. Usually the some leader is cut off. This is a full frame non-cropped image though. I couldn’t have centered it better if I knew ahead of time where it was going to be. Well I still had that ghost image in my eyes from that last flash lol.
There was a whole series of storms that moved through this evening. Each had it’s own character and lighting into sunset. I worked each and every one till the lightning and lighting subsided. There were some amazing captures from this timeline . I spent over 3 hours with this storm train. That is 1000 to 1500 image stuff. This will take a while to sort it all out. I had two cameras on lightning trigger and others free handed. I can run up to three cameras but it get’s to resemble a rats nest on my truck window.
Yup, it was a little windy for this capture. The problem with time exposures (low light generally with a punctuated flash during the click) is that wind shakes everything. I was sitting in my vehicle with an open window with metallic objects sticking out. All while next to a tall metal object on a hill top. Perfect place to take lightning photos I’m thinking… What could possibly go wrong? 😀😜👀📸
SO: Windmill Wednesday… Windmill Junkies Unite: 🤘 “Sneaky Pete” the windmill risking all to jump into my Lightning image. Hazardous work environment for the young guy.
Blurring a windmill is easy even in a soft breeze. You just have to leave the shutter open long enough to allow the blades to move during the exposure. This is complimentary to lightning as the longer the shutter is open, the more likely it is that you’ll catch a bolt. I also use lightning triggers but they only initiate the click. It’s me that sets the camera up. Lightning I tend to close the camera down to light and do 5 second exposures with ISO and Fstop set dependant on ambient light. This storm was fairly dark so I used ISO 200, 5 seconds and f22. Your setting will vary. Wind will keep your shutter MUCH shorter than 5 seconds. More like .25 seconds. This is where those lightning trigger gadgets come in very handy. Set to ISO 100, 1/25th, F18 and start there with a trigger. Hope this helps… Lightning is tough trying to anticipate it. You might get 1 in 10 flashes If your very quick…
Now I know this is out of season but I am redoing my portfolio to current standards and I’m reposting some from this last summer. I think it’s an interesting break from the mid-winter weather we’ve been having.
It was raining at the time about 30 minutes after sunset. It was overcast. Quite dark thus the long time exposure. I was in my Jeep Grand Cherokee on a large flat ridge top right in the middle of lightning flashes all around me. One of the better places to be during a lightning storm in the “open” is in a car. That is as long as your not touching metal. It also helps if you don’t have long camera lenses sticking outside your open window….. oh wait lolol..
There are two ways of doing this. If it is very dark, set your camera on a stabile tripod in a dry area. Take 25 second time exposures at ISO 200 and f11 to start with… No definite formula here…. You will have to tweek some to see what comes out. Or use an external “lightning trigger” to snap the camera as the bolt touches off. Set your camera near or at ISO 200 F11 and 1/4 second. Your settings will vary based on lighting.
The trick here to get a full frame (not a crop) image was to watch the storm and figure out where the bolts were consistently hitting. Then you just point the camera into that area and wait lolol. Lightning Triggers are not necessary with a time exposure.
Under the Mesocyclone 2:1 diptych 2-20″x20″ images.
Im estimating this young developing Mesocyclone is 15 miles distant. The image is about 50 miles wide. Relatively small for a Rotating mesocyclone. It was growing at the time. Moving in towards me at that time. Being high on a ridge in a Jeep when one of these rolls over you can get exciting.
That’s a pretty big lightning bolt about 10 miles away from my location/ The left part of that bolt was miles long certainly. This is a little further out out from me than it appears as it is “zoomed in a bit with a telephoto. Telephotos crush perspective but cover a smaller part of the sky. You the trick is to point the camera at where the lighting flashed last time. Using a wide camera is easy but gives you smaller bolts. A telephoto properly pointed will get you up close and personal. I do use an automatic lightning trigger that will trip the shutter on the flash. I endorse no specific brand .
The sunset for that day is ongoing exactly behind the rain shaft on the right at this captures time. Thusly the bottom of the storm is pretty much backlit as well as your going to see through one. A Thunderstorm sun filter….🤔😜📸 I am such an opportunist of a photographer. I use what ever natural light filter that is present…👀
There are just plain intense downpours under these storms sometimes. Depending on how fast they are moving makes you lucky or flooded locally lol. These only rain on a few percent of the ground area up here. Spotty! The ground under them becomes totally soaked if the storm doesn’t move.
I know, it’s out of season in Wyoming, not so much down south at the moment though. Be careful down there. As the cold air moves over us, the arctic blast does BIG storms in LA, MS, AL, GA….. Be careful out there and prayers for those effected by the storms.
In this complex summer image, I set the camera up at the mirror to reflect the sky slit 90 degrees left frame….Flash….. Can you find the Deering Seeder? This was a HUGE mesocyclone that hadn’t even reached us yet. We were just under it’s leading edge here. That shelf cloud is an indication that it’s about to get sporty. The 80 mph winds this brought with it did some damage. The big hail missed us though. That big white roof is our big barn which is roughly the size of a regulation foot ball field under that roof. It’s an old roping area under there.
This storm donated quite a few lightning photos. I usually work storms like this up on the ridges definitely in a car. The car doesn’t make you immune to the strikes but it helps. Your not going to get killed by ground current if your not touching metal is the plan. Not that the bolt couldn’t hit the camera. I’ve been pretty close to some strikes before and it will wake you up. Looking forward to working it with the new vehicle with no moon roof. I ordered it WITHOUT a sunroof (a several thousand dollar options that will probably leak). More metal overhead is a good thing I’m thinking lolol.
Setting up and sitting for night time exposures catching huge million amp plasma channels creates a lot of adrenaline (fun). There is enough amperage to melt sand in those bolts. You only do this from inside a “Faraday Cage” . Lock yourself in a metal drum, isolate yourself from the metal to become safe even if the drum is directly struck.
It has been my observation that anything you do any activity a LOT. Your going to get injured doing it, Having a metal vehicle surrounding you is a good thing while taking photos like this. Think about it. Your on a ridge line, high up in a metal truck watching bolts flash 360 around you. I’ve been very close to strikes before. I can’t say that I’ve ever been hit doing this. I watched a bolt hit a few hundred feet away driving up in Montana one day. Traveling I was driving along a rural road. Hard to miss the bolt strike the bare grassy field just off the road to my left.
• The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. Just because your in a truck, doesn’t mean your safe. It does moderate the extra risk statistically. Please keep your hands away from metal contact. Lock your trays in the upright and locked position…… Even so… The lightning can also serious damage your vehicle’s electrical system (which would really suck).
When you order a new vehicle to do precisely this… You really don’t need a sunroof over your head. lolololol 😜👀⛈ They cost more and lighning can travel right through glass.
Lightning Bolt Cloud to Ground is a 2 feet x 3 feet image in full size. Now I know this is out of season but I am redoing my portfolio to current standards and I’m reposting some from this last summer. I think it’s an interesting break from the early winter weather we’ve been having.
It was raining at the time about 10 minutes after sunset. This was our version of twilight that late summer 2019 evening. I was in my Jeep Grand Cherokee on a large flat ridge top right in the middle of lightning flashes all around me. One of the better places to be during a lightning storm is in a car. That is as long as your not touching metal. It also helps if you don’t have long camera lenses sticking outside your open window….. oh wait lolol..
There are two ways of doing this. If it is very dark, set your camera on a stabile tripod in a dry area. Take 25 second time exposures at ISO 200 and f11 to start with… You will have to tweek some to see what comes out. Or use an external “lightning trigger” to snap the camera as the bolt touches off. Set your camera near or at ISO 200 F11 and 1/4 second. Your setting s may vary but now too far out.
The trick here to get a full frame (not a crop) image was to watch the storm and figure out where the bolts were consistently hitting. Then you just point the camera into that area and wait lolol.
Time to Change Pants was taken by a Camera with a lightning Trigger on top of it.
I know this is out of season. I’m mixing into my daily posts refinished (to current standards) most of my older portfolio (4000+ images left to do. I digress..
There are many manufacturers of Lightning triggers and I endorse NONE of them….. Like game trail cameras, they all have issues I think lolol. In theory, they detect a bolt and automatically triggers the shutter. Your camera settings are highly variable depending on the light so I won’t . I will tell you that 1/4 of a second is a good shutter speed. I’m really glad I wasn’t standing by the camera just under a tin roof (to keep it dry (ish). I was inside my house tending to a project and about jumped out of my chair.
To this day I don’t know what in the barn yard this het. The trees are about 100 yards out from the lens across my “front” south facing yard. Since one bolt is behind the trees fingering down to the ground, I would assume that the bolt is to the rear of the trees. It looks a tad closer than that like it might have been inside my fence.
The time between the flash and the boom was non-existent so it was quite close. (5 seconds roughly for sound to travel a mile). So as a result of this photo, I’ll be using
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands, front yard.
This Hawk on an Electric Pole was a fortuitous capture. He watched my approach which was slow and jerky (stop and go). 5 minutes later I had his photo. My jeep is indeed a portable blind. He wasn’t concerned about my car but If I got out of my vehicle, I know he would have flown prior to the first good click ….
This is a dark phase one as I’ve seen these guys range from dark to much lighter brown. In all fairness to my ID (I’m not a birder”, his tail isn’t as red as I’m used to in the Red Tail Hawks clan. For all I know he’s some other bird but I’m betting on the Red Tailed Hawk ID for now lolol. I’m a way better photographer than I am an ornithologist (which I am definitely not ).
Mesocyclone Threatening the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch Headquarters.
This storm was ready to move right over us. A Big Mesocyclone Threatening to dump on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch is always a hit or miss. Some get the hail, some get the rain, some get buried in hail or rain lolol. I actually left the hill for this storm (something I don’t do very often) because everyone down below wasn’t aware of the threat. Had to go . Got our cars all under roof anyway