Before the Storm: Goldtown, WV, - August 27, 2001 - 12:30 AM
The storm producing these lightning strikes was moving away, but the catastrophe our country would endure would come less than two weeks later. Before I picked up these slides from the lab, disaster struck in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania in a storm that no one expected - making everything else seem trivial in comparison.
After seeing flashes on the northern horizon, I drove up Interstate 77 toward them. Just south of Goldtown, bright positive-flash lightning strikes began to come out of the side of a storm about 7 miles ahead of me. They were perfect bolts: long, vivid, bright and crisp as they arced from near the top of the cloud into clear air towards the ground. I knew the show wouldn't last much longer, and I had to set up quickly to avoid missing everything.
I immediately exited at Goldtown and headed east on a narrow rural road, hoping to find at the least an unlikely mediocre vantage point. To my great joy, however, the road rose over a high ridge in open fields, with clear views in all directions. I pulled over and set up the cameras quickly, just in time to catch the last three strikes this storm produced before it fizzled completely. By now the storm was much farther away than when I first saw it, and the lightning was more distant than I would have preferred. As a result, these exposures suffered. I sulked over missing the very spectacular inital strikes, but was slightly satisfied to come away with a little more than nothing for a change.
After this storm dissipated, I spent the next 2 hours trying to get in front of several smaller storms that were pulsing in the Jackson County area. However, these cells didn't last much longer. I headed back to Charleston, arriving home around 3:00AM.
Camera/Lens/Film: 35mm Pentax K1000 SLR, 28mm lens, Fujichrome Sensia II 100 slide.
Exposure: 25 seconds @ F5.6