Posts Tagged: lightning

June 30, 2009 – Lightning over Colorado Springs

Lightning over Colorado Springs

Lightning over Colorado Springs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As promised, here’s another lightning storm from a ridiculously active storm that I was watching from the deck at my parents’ house.

I’ll keep the comments short because I’m stupid-busy at work today, and I’ve already said most of what I’d say in the post about the previous lightning picture, way back when. Go look for that one if you want to know more.

As I mentioned before, usually with lightning pictures, you have to keep a somewhat wide frame, since otherwise you’ll miss all of the strikes. But this storm was so amazingly active and CLOSE that I was able to get away with slapping on the huge telephoto lens. And, as you can see, on this shot, I got TWO strikes that were right across the valley from me. (You know how when lightning is really close, there’s no gap between the lightning and the thunder? Yeah, both of these.)

The other amazing thing about this shot is that it was taken with my old 35 mm camera. Which means a couple things: 1) I had no idea if I had even gotten any strikes in my pictures. I just held the shutter open for 45 seconds at a time and hoped. It wasn’t until several days later when I got the pictures back that I saw the results. 2) I was using film. Which meant I only had 24 chances per roll to get it right.

If I had been using digital, I would have not only been able to see if I was exposing it right before the storm ran it’s course, I would also have as many chances as I wanted to nail it. So I’m pretty happy that I was able to get both of these shots during just that one storm. And, actually, it was shortly after taking this picture that I just started getting a little too freaked out. Keep in mind that I was standing out on a deck in the rain next to a tripod while these strikes were hitting less than a mile away. Oh, did I mention that my parents’ house is on top of a hill? And that there’s a system of lightning rods on the top of the house because we get lots of lightning up there? Hmm. Yeah, I got my tail inside.

That’s it for today. I can’t think of a good way to wrap up this entry.

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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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