A Fleeting Capture

Superstition Mountains, Arizona
Photograph by Mike Olbinski

I lived in Arizona while taking a lot of my flight training, so I became familiar with the amazing displays of lightening that can occur there.

I saw scenes like this, but was never able to catch one on camera. Photographer Mike Olbinski checked weather radar, packed up, drove to Apache Junction, and took this very impressive shot in the span of a ten-second exposure.

Isn’t it incredible?? The original article can be seen here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/04/your-shot-unbelievable-landscapes/

Happy Friday. 🙂

26 thoughts on “A Fleeting Capture”

    1. At my school we learned a healthy respect for lighting, although aircraft are designed to take it and discharge it quite readily (aircraft are hit by lightening about every thousand flight hours). The problem is that lightening is often a symptom of other things such as towering cumulonimbus and heavy turbulence. These can be deadly, so it’s best to avoid any sign of lightening.

  1. Wowza, what a picture! I’ve always enjoyed it when it storms outside, but this takes it to the next level. How frightening (and amazing!) to see something like this while flying.

    1. I agree; this photo is both amazing and terrifying. I have seen lightening while flying, but from a big distance. Lightening can be symptomatic of much worse things such as towering cumulonimbus and turbulence, so it’s wise to stay away.

  2. I love watching lightning……. from a safe distance! It’s also one of my biggest phobias.

    That said, I once took the freak shot of my life by capturing a bolt of lightning on my old 45 mm camera while waiting out a rain delay at a ballgame back in 1995. One of those moments I couldn’t do again if I tried a million times…

    1. I like watching it too, also from a safe distance. 🙂
      I keep an old Canon in my truck and I’ve gotten good photos with it, despite the fact that it almost melts in the summer and gets so cold in the winter that It’s hardly more than a chunk of ice. But it works every time. Sometimes, the old ones are the best. Congratulations on your freak shot. 🙂 I’ve never captured a good lightening photo.

  3. I have always be fascinated by lightning (well, weather in general, but I love lightning). I remember watching my dad drag out his 35mm, tripod, and tripwire and stand in the garage trying to get pictures of lightning for hours on end. He managed to get a few really incredible shot, but it would take him hours. I’ve tried a few times, but it is rare to get such a good electrical storm here and I don’t have the best location to get this kind of amazing shot. This is just incredible!

    1. Trying to get lightening shots is an exercise in patience! Your dad’s must have been really great. I have never gotten a decent lightening photo, mostly because I can’t wait like that. I would get distracted and start taking pictures of other things… sometimes it feels like I’m still 12. 😉 Arizona (and basically all the way from the Canadian prairies to Arizona and Texas) has amazing lightening because the weather conditions are much more conducive. Other places, such as coastal areas, are more inclined to sheet lightening (it’s a lot less beautiful and a lot more dangerous).

      1. We usually get a variety here, so it is really hit or miss. Even when we get really great photographic quality lightning, it isn’t usually constant enough to get more than a streak or two in a shot if you are lucky. It definitely requires patience, but I love watching it, so if the conditions are right, it is easy enough to be entertained while getting photos. I just don’t have the ideal location to attempt it, though. Staying safe while attempting to get a good shot isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

        1. Staying safe is the most important part!
          I have to take burst shots in order to get anything but I really haven’t been successful with that, either. Just enjoying the show is probably the best way to go about it, if you can do that safely.

          1. I got a tripwire last year after trying to do star shots so I can have longer exposures. I’ve been waiting to try it out on lightning but the weather hasn’t cooperated since then.

          2. We would have to get a storm first. The last year or so the weather has been so incredibly weird. We usually get several major storms throughout spring and summer and we didn’t really get any. Most likely, we won’t see a chance of any until spring again, so hopefully I’ll be done with my mess by then.

  4. The photo, fine, but there are lots of dramatic lightning photos around (not that I could take one, I give it that) … I’m all snagged on your throw-away intro about “a lot of my flight training.” I am ‘way more impressed by the thought of you a pilot, than by another lightning photo, however terrific.

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