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                   Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - 2:36AM

Photoshelter account, slow-motion lightning footage

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I decided to sign up for a Photoshelter account earlier this month, and finally got around to configuring my first few images (my catalog page is here). I have traditionally stayed away from the online stock photo agencies because most of them are geared to amateurs who are willing to sell images for nothing (as in absurd amounts like a dollar or two each). However, there are a couple of pro photographers/observers that I respect that have had some good experiences with Photoshelter. Add to that the fact that the site allows you to charge professional rates, so I decided to give it a try.

On to the subject of lightning. You may have seen a few of these videos floating around the internet lately. Tom Warner of ZT Research in Rapid City, SD has been involved in capturing lightning video with a 7,200 frames-per-second camera. The results are jaw-dropping. I could replace an entire page describing how lightning works by just posting the link to Tom's videos - nothing else I've ever seen shows the processes so clearly. Tom has posted a few of his videos on YouTube, here are my favorites - keep in mind that what you see here happens in nature in the blink of an eye!

Cloud-to-ground discharge

Intracloud discharges followed by cloud-to-ground discharge

And the rest of them:

High-speed camera lightning by ZT Research

After seeing this stuff I'm not sure I have much motivation to shoot any more lightning footage until I have that camera. All of my lightning video seems boring now. At around 70 grand, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon though.

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