May 19, 2009 – Lightning over Colorado Springs

Lightning over Colorado Springs

Lightning over Colorado Springs

May 19, 2009.

Today’s pic is from way back in the day, about 10 years ago. This is way before I got involved with digital, this one is a scanned in 35mm shot.

As anyone who has ever lived there knows, Colorado Springs gets some capital-c-Crazy storms that roll in off the mountains on summer afternoons. Back when I lived with my parents, I dabbled from time to time with trying to get good shots of lightning. The basic idea is pretty straightforward: You point the camera where the lightning is, and hold open the shutter. Since it’s usually dark out, you can hold open the shutter for 45 seconds or a minute, and the frame won’t be overexposed. Then, when the lightning actually flashes, you can let the shutter close.

However, there’s two problems with that: 1) that only really works if it’s nighttime, because otherwise you can’t just hold open the shutter like that, and 2) lightning is sort of hard to predict. So you usually have to keep a pretty wide angle to even get it in the frame at all, and then it usually looks pretty small in the resulting picture.

There was one storm in particular though that let me get around those issues, I’m pretty sure it was when I was back at home during summer break from college. I started out with the usual wide angle, but the lightning was hitting so hard, often, and CLOSE that I decided to try putting on the big telephoto lens, and see what came out. I got a couple great shots from that storm, this being one of them. (The other good one actually has TWO strikes in the frame, but it’s also got a bunch of houses and stuff, so I always go back and forth over which picture I actually like more. Maybe I’ll post that one sometime later.)

Here’s the map for this one:

Notes: Old Pentax 35mm camera. Unknown lens, f-stop, shutter speed, probably 200 ASA.

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One Comment

  1. avatar
    Marie June 3, 2010

    you did great with this shot, but I honestly won’t try taking a pics of a lightning, scares me off, lol

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