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                   Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - 1:14AM

Indoor lightning photo shoot

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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I've been meaning to do more of this since I bought my Van de Graaff generator a couple of years ago. My eventual goal is to try using my macro lens on the Pentax K1000 and get as close as possible to the sparks with slide film. Macro shots of the sparks hitting and spreading out on the skin on my hands should be pretty amazing if I can get the exposure right. Their appearance is like a natural lightning bolt hitting ground, complete with the orange glow at the connection point. Since the K1000 has no electronics (other than the light meter, which I never use nor need for lightning photography) it is the only camera I dare set up that close to the generator. I've never tried shooting Van de Graaff sparks with the digital camera I bought last spring, so I decided to give it a try tonight. These were taken from a (somewhat risky) distance of about five feet away and zoomed in, with 4-second exposures at F3.5. To get these in focus, I had to draw the sparks in front of the generator's support column so that the camera's autofocus had something to set itself on. As a result, some of the sparks here (ranging in length from 4 to 6 inches) are traveling along the surface of the column before jumping to my arm.

Click thumbnails to enlarge:

Tuesday severe weather wrap-up
As expected, the storm threat in Charleston last night turned out to be largely a non-event, except for the synoptic-scale windstorm behind the cold front. The power here at the house flickered a few times, and I witnessed a single power flash somewhere east of Greenbrier Street after 1AM. On the way back from the grocery store after things were winding down, I ran over a rather large tree limb on Keystone Drive that had been felled by the winds. Other than that, nothing too exciting. Another big storm is showing up on all the models for Friday.

In Other News....
An accident during yesterday's rain made the news - the story (with photo) was printed in today's Charleston Gazette. Can you guess where? (Article)

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