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.
I watch very carefully and a a visual learner from natural events. I don’t always get it right so apologies ahead of time lol.
As this erupted, I watched the “bolt” Strobe multiple times. I can visualize it in my mind now as if it just happened. Flash flash flash flash four times. This was a one second exposure which was not long enough to pick up the barely visible landscape. I was trying to get the bolts alone that were consistently blasting this particular ridge about a mile away. Roughly hitting the same area as that part of the storm floated over the high topography, I pointed a telephoto (400mm) at that spot pre-framing the image. The cameras on my drivers window clamped to the truck.
At first I thought this might be a shake of the bolt but the branches off the main aren’t all doubled as they would be if the whole image was shaking. It wasn’t a long exposure as I indicated a second. The lightning trigger that controls my shutter took the whole sequence of the bolt I believe. Each ionization path following the one next to it. I think it would be a blur if the camera moved. I’m fairly conviced this is multiple bolts not a shaky camera blur artifact. What do you think??
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. 🤔
Just after the sun had set, the Massive rotating storm started to loose the energy that was forming it. Fueled ultimately by rising air from it’s heating influence. Starved from it’s energy source. The Mammatus clouds as above can be a sign of the big rotating storm collapsing.
This particular day was a storm filled afternoon. I suspect that HUGE bolt is 40 miles distant on the “Red Hills” (The name) making up that distant ridge. I use what is called a lightning trigger to “click” my shutter during hours where a time exposure would over expose. You can use neutral density filters on your camera to do time exposures during the day. I’m sort of a purist and don’t like screw on filters in front of my lenses. I have had images ruined by ghost images due to their effect. I point at the sun a lot, lightning probably isn’t that different. Bright Light and all that.
At night however, a long exposure might do you. In pitch black, storm flashing away….need a tripod, with a timer or remote thumb trigger for your camera, start at ISO 300, F4 (ish) and say 20 seconds. Let it flash, wait a second, then click…. Don’t touch anything until the shutter closes. Then look to see what you got. Go longer or shorter exposure to bring the image into reality. Now you know pretty much what I do to do this.
This was taken the day we had our grass fire. I had been following up with the Bureau of Land Management Hot Spot Team. I was talking to the crew until about 11:15 when it became apparent that the Comet Neowise was going to be behind clouds. Time to go to sleep, a few miles back to the homestead all the while noticing HUGE multiple lightning flashes 20 miles to our south. The silhouette of the hill on the skyline is called “Bowman Hill”. Bowman is 15 miles south of me.
Now it takes my Sony mirrorless cameras (which work only OK) for the Comet Neowise) do a pretty good job on 30 second time exposures even in windy conditions taking photos of flashing lighting. I was definitely ridge topped here having to climb out of the bowl our homestead is in to see this. Those same sony cameras take ANOTHER 30 seconds to process that 30 second time exposure before I can take another exposure. Problematic so I work 2 cameras at the same time alternating 30 second clicks and I basically get full time coverage of all the bolts possible. But I can still only take 2 photos a minute at best. (that make sense??).
So anyway…. That is the center of a Mesocyclone all lit up by that flash. The wall cloud demarking the tip of the massive spinning top of this 60 miles across storm. The intensity of the storm at a late hour was remarkable with flash after flash discharging every few seconds over all. But many of the flashes were deep in the storm backlighting several surfaces. Stars…..
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.