Heavy sigh

So not long back I talked about lightning photography in two separate posts, and presented some of my examples therein. A friend of mine named Jim Kramer, who recently moved to Kansas, sent me these two examples from his second night in the state, I suspect just to make me sick. Here I am struggling to get a solid bolt or two in the frame, and he’s closing the shutter before too many crowd in.

Yes, the midwestern states present some prime opportunities to get lightning photographs, due to their weather patterns and the relative flatness of the land, allowing for good views of approaching and receding storms. I expect, before too long, I’ll get to see (and mutter with jealousy over) some shots he’s gotten among some really sharp scenery or foreground interest. Lightning shots are great, but like everything, they work best if they’re situated among something else in the image that draws attention, creates a mood, or provides contrast. Many times, in order to achieve this, you need to provide some help – the storm itself will keep the skies too dark to provide any illumination of a foreground, so unless your complementary subject works well in silhouette, you need to provide some other light, or get your timing really bang on to catch the fading twilight at sunset to light up your frame, but not too much – remember, lightning usually takes long exposures while you wait for unpredictable bolts. An ideal balance is catching light immediately before sunset, peering in under the level of the storm clouds to throw some light on the ground, while the sky in your frame is darkened by the clouds themselves. Tricky, in many cases, since most storms in the US come from the west where your sunset would be. Such goes the planning of nature photography.

As an unrelated note, I’m about to upgrade my Atahualpa blog theme to see if it fixes some little quirks. This might mean the blog gets really funky looking at some point, or acts weird. Be patient, it’ll get back to normal shortly. I’ve been pleased with the theme, since it offers tons of options with a simple user interface, but there have been some glitchy issues recently that I’m hoping this corrects.

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