Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Dawn's Early Lightning I

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If you have given your life to the Lord, you know that God's mercy is new every morning. That means even before we wake up, our mistakes, sins, and shortcomings are already taken care of. What a relief.

Lightning started flashing on the horizon around 3:00 AM on July 30, 1999, and I went out to discover that Charleston was surrounded by active thunderstorms as an anvil crawler shot across the sky.

Anvil crawlers were continuing around 360° of the sky when I stopped at the Kanawha Mall parking lot to start taking photos (second photo at right). But it wasn't long before one of the cells started to get close enough to begin pouring rain on me, so I headed for a more sheltered location.

I ended up on the east end of Kanawha City under the Interstate 64/77 underpass at 4:00 AM when one particularly electrified storm passed overhead. I set up the camera facing north for ten minutes, then facing south for about 15 minutes.

I had the tape recorder going during this one. During the last moments of the storm, an extremely close strike hit closer than 200 feet. This sound clip (MP3 format, 70KB) of the loud, explosive 'POP' from the strike doesn't do justice to the actual loudness of the noise, which left me with ringing ears and an instant headache. I would have liked to have caught this one with the camera, but I was *sigh* facing the wrong way. The last image at right shows the light-bathed scene from this strike, making 4:00 AM look like 3:00 PM.

Camera/Lens/Film: 35mm Minolta SRT201 SLR, 35mm lens, Kodak 100 ASA.
Exposure: 10 to 30 seconds @ F8



[ click above images to enlarge ]

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