Tag: bolt

Red and pink skies of sunset at Redbank near Ipswich Queensland Australia as a massive lightning bolt strikes down from a storm cell. Simply stunning landscape, storm and weather photography from Murray Fox

Sunset Lightning – Bolt of the year so far

Storm season is really kicking in here in Queensland Australia. The last week has brought wide spread storms to the region, some becoming very nasty super cells with tornados of all things. It’s the first time in my memory I’ve seen the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issue a tornado warning, with several dropping a few hours north of Brisbane and causing widespread damage.

Thursday saw a good chance for something around home, as I work full time I took all my gear with me on the off chance I’d have an opportunity to get something. Driving home I started to see cloud to ground lightning bolts (CGs) dropping to the west, but pretty close. I headed for the Brisbane River near Goodna as there is a great spot there with good views. Arriving I quickly worked out I needed a better view west so I moved a few k’s up the road to another higher spot.

As I pulled up I started to see the most amazing colour come across the scene. The sun was setting and throwing out amazing shades of red and pinks, with the actual storm cell being illuminated. I’m pretty sure I set a new record in getting setup and shooting. Camera on tripod, turn it on, into manual mode, aperture to f/6.3, ISO to 100, and shutter speed to live composite. I was getting a well exposed photo with 1.6 second updates. Start shooting. I normally run live composite for 20-60 seconds depending on cloud speed as they can start to look weird if they move too much. Second frame there was a massive flash in front of me, and this amazing bolt appeared on my screen.

Red and pink skies of sunset at Redbank near Ipswich Queensland Australia as a massive lightning bolt strikes down from a storm cell. Simply stunning landscape, storm and weather photography from Murray Fox
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, 12-40mm Pro Lens, ISO 100, F/6.3, Live Composite 1.6sec updates

We’ll jump for joy and high fiving myself, I quickly went live on my facebook page to show the scene and what was happening. As luck would have it, the colour soon faded and no more bolts dropped, I got “the” shot and my best bolt this year by far.

This ended up going a little viral on Facebook and ended up on Sky News Weather Channel, ABC News and Sunrise on Channel 7 the next morning, it’s great when others appreciate your work.

I’ve also sold a few prints on canvas of this shot now, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details.

I’ve also added this to my Lightning Portfolio, so be sure to check that out.

With more storms due this coming weekend, hopefully I can get a few more shots in the back, it’s always exciting but extreme care must be taken, quite a few people were injured in the last round.

That’s all for this week, stay safe!

Murray

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An amazing lighting bolt strikes the ground on the leading edge of a huge storm system at Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia before it moved on to Brisbane causing widespread damage and blackouts.

Massive storm Redbank Plains to Brisbane 11/02/18

All I can say is wow! I’d been watching the forecasts and predictions all week, Sunday was looking promising for some late afternoon storm action. The day was very hot but also had very low humidity, none of the usual forecast websites were warning anything tho so I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

Come the afternoon, bits and pieces of weather were coming down off the range to the south west, with most of the action over the border ranges in NSW. I still wasn’t expecting anything. By around 5pm things looked to be getting a little more organised so I headed to a local spot and met up with Bobby from Mr S Photography (search for him on facebook, great photographer). It was right about this time the storm very suddenly gained structure, and made what appeared to be a right turn and came directly at us.

The sun was setting to the west, throwing some amazing light across the landscape. The wall front was so big, I had to use 7 photos at 12mm (equivalent to 24mm on a full frame camera) just to capture the entire front. Settings on manual, ISO 100, F11 to help get a longer shutter speed and shutter at 1/2 a second. I fired off my shots and stitching the photos together on the computer came up with this amazing panorama.

An amazing panorama of a huge storm wall cloud approaching Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia on the 11th of February 2018 11/02/18 before it moved on to Brisbane.
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, Olympus 12-40mm pro lens. 7 vertical shots stitched

The storm at this point picked up some quite fast rotation and really started moving. It was no longer possible to capture the entire front so instead I focused on the leading edge to the east as that had the best structure. This time I turned on the live composite function in my Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II. This great piece of technology allows the camera to take a normal exposure at my settings, but it then keeps the shutter open and only adds new light to the base exposure. By running this in 10-20 second bursts, I could keep detail in the moving cloud, but easily capture this huge lightning bolt as it struck the ground.

One of my best storm photographs to date, this ended up on several media websites as well as making page 5 of the Courier Mail.

An amazing lighting bolt strikes the ground on the leading edge of a huge storm system at Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia before it moved on to Brisbane causing widespread damage and blackouts.
OMD Em5 Mark II, ISO 100, F8, 1/2 sec, Live Composite, run time 8 seconds.

Very quickly after this we had no choice but to leave. We tried to get a head of it by heading towards the river, however even travelling at 100kph on the highway, this storm now outpaced us and it was a quick wet drive back home, and sit and wait for over an hour for the system to pass.

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A very tall lightning bolt strikes the waters of Moreton Bay east of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia as this storm system passed out across the water heading for Moreton and North Stradebroke Islands.

Lightning over the Bay

Storms had been predicted by the modelling all week for this Saturday. With temperatures pushing 40°C but very low humidity it was beginning to look like they wouldn’t eventuate. When a very small system formed straight over home moving east, I decided this could be something and made the hour run to the coast.

Cleveland Point east of Brisbane Queensland Australia is a great spot for capturing sunrise/sunset and storms over water as it’s surrounded on 3 sides. I sat for a while, watching the radar, I could see something coming, and a very faint cloud structure began to appear. Before long it formed into a wonderful front and as soon as it passed over the bay, amazing lighting began to fire from the clouds.

Rain made it difficult to capture the bolts, there was still a lot of light around so I had to rely on a 6 stop ND filter to reduce my shutter speed to 1/2 a second. Iso was set to my base 200, and the aperture to F4, which wasn’t over exposing the bolts, perfect.

I again used the live composite feature of my Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, this allows camera to keep recording over a period of time, only adding new light. I actually only need to run for about 4 seconds to get this shot, the time added a bit of blur to the water which I really liked.

I’ve processed this to my taste, adjusting the white balance to add some blue to the scene, the grey was a bit too drab for me. Local contrast adjustments to bring out the white wash in the water, and make the lighting pop with a final pass through Nik Color Efex for some finishing touches and contrast.

Here is the final result for you :

A very tall lightning bolt strikes the waters of Moreton Bay east of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia as this storm system passed out across the water heading for Moreton and North Stradebroke Islands.

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