(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm 1.2 l, f/8, iso 160, stack of 8 images // buy print)

Over the last year or so I’ve become fond of stacked lightning images. I used to detest them. But now I find something kinda cool about them. Definitely not for everyone. Some people think it’s cheating, but in reality it’s just a way to do a very long exposure in bursts of 30 seconds (or whatever time) and get rid of noise and things being overexposed. All of this could have been captured in one a 15-minute exposure, but it would have been unusable.

The reason I’m getting into them lately is because the longer I photograph lightning, the more I demand from a strike. For example…most of the strikes in this image were just okay. Nothing fancy. And you may ask what “fancy” means, but I couldn’t tell you really. I just know what I’m looking for now. Something extra special. And all the individual bolts left a lot to be desired in my eyes.

Stacking them creates something new entirely. What I love about them is how you can visually see the power of nature over a short amount of time. And also just how many times lightning can strike in a specific area. It’s pretty crazy actually.

This was taken down near Eloy back on August 16th of this year. The bolts are landing behind some hills and are also obscured with dusty outflow, so they appear to almost be standing up on their tiptoes. While I love the strikes themselves, I really dig the silhouettes of the trees in the middle of central Arizona farmland.

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