#151. The shiny eye in the silent storm

By pascaljappy | News

Aug 14

August in Provence sees a mix of very hot weather with blue skies and stormy conditions that announce the arrival of Autumn a few weeks later.

A few nights ago, we were treated to a light show that lasted almost for an hour in total silence. Lightning never struck the ground, brightening the clouds from within as well as the hills but without the associated threatening thunder. Storms in this area are often violent but this was a peaceful and serene event.

Lightning flashes inside cloud. Nikon D800e & Leica Summicron-R 35. 30secs @F/2

Silent lights. Nikon D800e & Leica Summicron-R 35. 30secs @F/2

I took a series of 30 second exposures at f/2, at varying ISO settings, hoping to capture some of the flashes that remained mostly invisible to the eye.

Most turned out very … ah hum … uninteresting. But one shows a nice eye-shape cloud (with some imagination ;)) with lightning streaks at center. Interestingly, wind shifted the clouds during the exposure and the multiple flashes resulted in multiple exposures of some of the patterns which, I think, adds a lot to the composition compared to a strait picture of a cloud. The foreground trees provide anchoring since these did not move at all during the exposure. Lucky the wind was only at high altitude.

What do you think ?

Picture made with a Nikon D800e and Leica Summicron-R 35mm f/2.