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                   Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 3:16AM CDT

8/15 southern Illinois lightning show

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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HD CHASE VIDEO: Continuous lightning near St. Libory, IL

Models showed a convective complex developing around midnight in the St. Louis area, and it happened just after 11PM about 20 miles south of New Baden. New thunderstorms are the best in terms of lightning quality, mainly due to the fact that the precip core hasn't fully developed and expanded, allowing for more lightning channels to be visible and 'crisp' outside of the rain. This storm put on quite a show for several hours, with near continuous flashes. The complex was still going strong when I finally decided I'd captured enough images. At the beginning, several 'bolts from the blue' arced out from the updrafts into clear air, with stars visible above. The frequency of the flashes was enough to break out the video camera - I recorded about 30 minutes of the near-constant cloud illumination.

A Perseid meteor streaked across the frame in one of the shots, though the exposure settings I was shooting at didn't allow it to get picked up. After that, I did a series of exposures at meteor-shower settings (high ISO, open aperture) hoping for another, but there were no more. Overall a great nighttime lightning event, one of the best this year so far (and only 15 minutes from home).

When this first one hit, I had the camera pointed high to get stars in the shot. This CG hit the ground a good 5 miles or more to the west of the storm:


click to enlarge

More 'bolts from the blue' with stars, with ground connections 1 to 3 miles away from the storm. These are all true verticals (not cropped from horizontals).

Clear starry sky above the storm:

Complex moving eastward with near-continuous lightning. I have about 40 shots like these, I only posted a few examples here since the rest are not very different.





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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

Am so impressed with your work!
- Posted by Kathy from S. of Lebanon, Il.
THAT'S AWESOME!!!
- Posted by Jake Smith from 8623 Trails Run Road Indianapolis
THAT'S AWESOME!!!
- Posted by Jake Smith from 8623 Trails Run Road Indianapolis
Never seen anything like it
- Posted by Cameron Atkinson

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