Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Jackson County Fireworks: Ripley, WV - June 4, 2002 - 9:00 PM

By DAN ROBINSON
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"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all."

Straight from Isaiah 53. This description of Jesus was written some 700 years before He was born - and it came true. Man, did it ever. By the way, that 'all of us' is talking about me and you. It's not taking any liberties to put this in perspective:

"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract you to him. He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. You turned your back on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and you did not care. Yet it was your weaknesses he carried; it was your sorrows that weighed him down. And you thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for your sins. He was beaten that you might have peace. He was whipped, and you were healed! You strayed away like a sheep. You left God's paths to follow your own. Yet the LORD laid on him your guilt and sins."

Right now you've got a chance to make things right. Don't pass it up.

Late in the afternoon on the 4th, doppler radar showed an impressive line of storms about to cross the Ohio River into West Virginia near Ravenswood. I headed north on I-77 and made it in front of several large cells at Ripley at sunset. The cells were beginning to gust out, with an ominous shelf cloud rolling quickly over the Jackson County hills. Nonetheless, the storms were still dropping frequent lightning as they appeared to cycle through various stages of weakening and intensification for the next two hours.

I found a decent vantage point on top of the earthen dam of a lake just south of Route 33. The first storm to pass over me was producing some impressive lightning strikes, but the heavy wind, rain, and close lightning kept me in the truck and prevented any photography.

After the first storm moved off, I was able to grab a few shots of the retreating storm over the lake (third through fifth photos at right). As the first storm moved off and dissipated, a second line of active storms approached from the northwest (second photo at right). After the lightning from the new storms moved behind the trees, I decided to go east after it. I couldn't get as close as I wanted, but I did find a nice vantage point over a second lake just 3 miles east of my first location - where I was able to catch a few of the frequent strikes with their reflection in the water (first photo at right).

After the shutter was opened on the Pentax at my second location, I thought I'd try out the digital camera's lightning-catching abilities with these very active storms. The results are below:

[ click above to enlarge ]

Camera, Lens, Film: Pentax K1000 35mm SLR, 28mm Lens, Fuji Sensia 100 slides
Exposure: F5.6 at 1 to 2 minutes

Digital Camera: Fuji Finepix 4700 Digital, 2400x1800 resolution
Digital Exposure: Night Exposure mode, 3 seconds

[ click images to enlarge ]


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