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                   Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:55PM CDT

'Thunder Moon' and clear-air lightning - Bartelso, Illinois, July 22

30 Years of Storm Photography
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HD EXPEDITION VIDEO: Clear-air lightning bolts under the 'thunder moon'

Sometimes the best expeditions of the year come out of nowhere. I was sitting at my desk working when the radar revealed some convection popping up just 3 miles to my north. I expected it to dissipate, as many such storms do this time of year after sunset. However, the radar returns congealed and eventually revealed a nice thunderstorm about 5 miles to my northeast, so I headed out the door. The storm was small but spectacular, sending many clear-air bolts far from its updraft. Over the course of the next hour, I shot the following images in the Germantown and Bartelso area along Highway 161 under the full moon, of which tonight (July 22) is known as the 'thunder moon'.

Click on any of these to view in full screen.

This clear-air discharge is likely in the 6 to 7 mile range away from the storm, reaching for the moon!

A stack of two of the above frames:

Early on, I had the 50mm lens aimed tight at the top of the storm before it sent out the first clear-air CG:

The first CG near Germantown:

July 23 storms: Late that same night, I went downtown for another round of incoming storms. None tracked through the city, however this storm to the southwest had one final lightning flash to round out the Arch+moon+lightning combo shot:

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