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November 2011 lightning expeditions #2 and #3 (short video clip)
Again, there is no observing off-season in the USA - especially in the Midwest, if lightning is enough to get you on the road like it is for me. We're already up to three lightning storm observation days here in southern Illinois this November. The second and third, unfortunately, have not been fruitful like the first one (on the 14th) barely was, where I at least came home with a visible channel on an exposure. Chases 2 and 3 were nothing much to speak of, except for the treat of seeing lightning and hearing thunder in late November.
November chase #2 came on Sunday night, where a highly electrified MCS was heading straight for the county due south of New Baden. My goal with late November-through-December storms is to get Christmas lights in a lightning shot, something that has eluded me despite a half-dozen or so opportunities over the years. I drove south to Sparta to get in front of the most active part of the complex, but was quickly socked in with dense fog - simultaneously with my laptop deciding to crash. The USB ports stopped working, and when I rebooted, Windows would not load. I spent the next 25 minutes doing a system restore/repair, unaware due to the dense fog and lack of radar that the west end of the MCS was dissipating. The east side of the complex became dominant quickly, leaving me out of position by the time I got my computer fixed and radar data flowing again. I made a futile attempt to catch up, going as far east as Pickneyville before giving up and heading home. Another "zero-zero" expedition, no still or video camera touched the entire trip.
Monday night once again saw lightning approaching the St. Louis area. Though the storms were much weaker this time around, they were at least maintaining their strength, with a few on a course toward the STL Metro East. The downside this time was the fog, low cloud bases and overall low visibilities, meaning you'd need a fairly close CG to see a visible channel. As a result, I was able to break out the video camera for a while, but only for the long shot of a lightning channel peeking through the clouds behind one of New Baden's Christmas displays. Alas, none cooperated. It's not much, but this flash is the first instance I have lightning/thunder and a Christmas subject in a photo or video, so I posted the clip for posterity:
click for video
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