I’m kind of anal when it comes to the composition of lightning shots. I like a certain look, a certain kind of strike, a certain kind of framing and if I don’t have it, I’ll just throw out the image. Examples are capturing only HALF a strike. You were aimed in the general area but the bolt obviously has a lot going on off-camera that you missed. That’s not good enough for me.

Anyways, this bolt has a pretty intense tendril going off camera, but for the most part, the entire strike is in the center of the frame. It’s definitely not my favorite lightning shot of all time, but the reason I’m posting it is how amazed I am at all the small details. If you look closely towards the top (and anywhere really) you can see tons of faint lines of less intense tendrils going everywhere. I love it. I don’t think my shots from last year had this much detail in them and I’m stoked to see what happens this summer.

I find this stuff just utterly fascinating. This was shot just a few weeks ago in Memphis. The official start to the Arizona monsoon season was yesterday, but so far the outlook is at LEAST 2-3 weeks away before we start seeing that seasonal storm flow begin. I’m getting antsy.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, iso 100, f/5.0, 20 sec)

23 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    This is amazing. I just bought a 50mm 1.8 for my Canon T1i. I am goig to do a bunch of experimenting with it this weekend while visiting the folks in South Carolina. Any words of advice?

  2. A.Barlow
    A.Barlow says:

    Mike.O going hard core with it!

    Man, I’m just still amazed people are able to get pics of lightning at all. I mean, not like it waits around for you and all 🙂

    I think the shot looks great.

  3. Jan Winther
    Jan Winther says:

    Awesome awesome shot Mike. Amazing to see how the lightning branches out like that. Looks like tiny veins. I just thought about the thunder that would be after this puppy. Very cool.

  4. Chrisdmrf
    Chrisdmrf says:

    Simply stunning, absolutely in awe of this. Really want to take some lightning shots but not too easy in London. We had thunder last night but I was driving during BOTH flashes, the first was behind me and I thought I’d set off a GATSO

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