Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 11:30PM CDT

DAY 12: (Trip #2, Day 6): Red Bud, Illinois lightning

By DAN ROBINSON
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You'll notice I skipped over Day 11, since essentially all I did yesterday was sleep at the hotel in Tulsa after a 36-hour observing marathon. Several rounds of storms moved through Tulsa, but I was too tired to pay attention.

I left Tulsa before noon on Tuesday and headed east on I-44, planning to stop in St. Louis for the night. As I arrived in St. Louis, a lone cluster of storms fired at sunset about 60 miles southeast of town. I drove south for about 30 miles to the town of Red Bud, the same town we launched our intercept of the Crosstown F4 tornado on September 22 of last year.

My goal with these storms was to see how competent my new digital camera, the Fuji S700, was with lightning photography. The results came out better than I had hoped for a $250 camera. Little to no noise, crisp bolts with good detail. As with most cameras, shooting lightning with this one was pretty simple - set on manual mode with the maximum 4-second exposure with an aperture between f4.5 and f5.6. The only problem with the camera was that its refresh rate between exposures is about 5 to 7 seconds long, meaning you're more likely to miss bolts than catch them. Nonetheless, tonight's test proves I can trust this camera to do more lightning in the future.

Here are a few shots (some of these are crops).


Lightning at Red Bud, Illinois

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