Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lightning Storm!

The summer monsoon season in the desert southwest is a wonderful time. It gives the region life-sustaining rain. At the same time it gives photographers a vast treasure trove of beautiful sunsets, rainbows and (my favorite) lightning.

Last night there was an impressive lightning display in and around Tucson, Arizona and I was able to catch the show from my back yard. Lightning is easiest to photograph when it is dark and when the storm is relatively far from you. This puts the lighting in one general direction (helping you to know where to point your camera) and keeps the danger at a minimum.
My first catch of the evening wasn't all that impressive as the lightning bolt was too far away, but things got better. Except where noted, all exposures were 30 seconds.
Two 30-second exposures combined in Star Stax
I decided to try a new direction and caught two shots (combined above) and realized that I was pointing in the wrong place and that the real action was just beginning. Below are some of my favorite shots from the lightning display.
I couldn't resist combining all of my images into one mega shot of all the lightning strikes. The combined images represent 22 minutes of exposure. I also dropped the images into iMovie to make a quick time-lapse video. Here is the result:

There's a chance of more thunderstorms tonight through the end of next week. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch some more lightning.


  1. I like it. And I'm more than a little green with envy...

  2. We were under those bolts! My poor dog was shaking like going to the vet. Very nice images/movie.