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 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.
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.