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Summer Thunderstorm Over Diablo Range

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 2 July 2008 in Landscape & Rural.

A summer thunderstorm rolled through San Benito County, California, on a hot muggy June day producing some impressive lightning strikes and allowing me to play with a specialty Lightning Trigger which I had owned for a year but had never gotten the opportunity to use. The device attaches to my camera's hot shoe and plugs into the camera's remote sync terminal. It is the only device to my knowledge that allows a photographer to capture lightning in the daytime. I made this image at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon! According to the device's instruction sheet, the Lightning Trigger will respond to intracloud (heat) lightning as well as stroke lightning. In addition, since lightning will occur over a wide expanse of the sky, the Lightning Trigger will also detect omni-directional flashes. It further explains that lightning is not a singular event; a flash is comprised of multiple strokes spaced approximately 40 milliseconds apart and occurring up to several hundred milliseconds in duration. The Lightning Trigger is manufactured by Stepping Stone Products, LLC in Delores, Colorado. You can visit their website at Lightning Trigger.Com. My success rate was about 50%. Much of it has to do with luck in guessing where to frame. I tracked this cell as it moved from the Santa Cruz Mountains east towards the Diablo Mountains. This location is about a 10 minute drive from my where I live in the southern Santa Clara Valley (a coastal valley where occurrences like this are rare). I used a Singh-Ray 8-stop variable neutral density filter set at -4 to keep the ambient light from overexposing as a 1/4 second shutter is recommended. I owe much of the success of this image to my wife Beri, and my two sons Rob and Aaron. They were out on a drive when they spotted the strikes and called me! The downside of this storm was that this dry lightning helped ignite over 1200 wildfires across central and northern California. To see more of my images, please visit my website at Don Smith Photography
You can also read an article about the Lightning Trigger which appears on my website by clicking here: Capturing Lightning During the Day!

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/4 second F/14.0 ISO 50 43 mm

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