Photo of the Week – September 8, 2016

Back in late June, a group of us were at the Niobrara Valley Preserve collecting data.  During the evening, a storm rolled in from the west.  Against all common sense and safety, I went up on a hill above the Niobrara River to photograph the approaching lightning.

Lightning over

Lightning over the Niobrara River.  The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.

Lightning photography seems much more complicated than it actually is.  Mostly, you just point the camera toward a storm, open the shutter of the camera for a while, and hope lightning strikes within the frame before you have to close the shutter again.  The photos here were taken with exposures between 3 and 8 seconds each.  And, of course, I took about 200 photos (I’m guessing, but that’s probably close) and ended up with a handful of shots with lightning bolts in them.

Lightning

More lightning over the Niobrara River.

Lightning

Even more lightning.  Actually, this photo came before the other two, sequentially, which is why the lightning looks skinnier (it was further away).

They say photography is mostly about being there, and that’s certainly the case with these photos.  Unfortunately, lightning can be awfully dangerous (I was once knocked down by a nearby lightning strike while trying to get off the top of a mountain and really don’t want to repeat that).  Eventually, safety concerns overrode the urge to capture a great image and I skedaddled for shelter.  A more dedicated photographer would have stuck around for the lightning to fill the frame.  On the other hand, I’m still alive to write this post.

There’s something to be said for that.

This entry was posted in Prairie Photography and tagged , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

17 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – September 8, 2016

  1. Wonderful shots, Chris. I’m struck by the similarity in shape of all three strikes. I’ve never notice that before. Is it typical? Is there an explanation?

  2. I have not been struck by lightening, but my electrical at a house was, and the fire alarms all went off in the middle of the night. Had to find a ladder in the dark and figure out how to turn them off.

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.