|Florida Keys Lightning - August 11th, 2008
(c) Martin Kucera - FloridaLightning.com
|Truly an amazing lightning all night long event that I will remember for a long
time. You usually have a few nights throughout the year that are spectacular
when it comes to results. This night was actually a peak in intensity out of three
days of stormy weather here in Florida Keys. We had a westerly flow set up over
the region. It is one of my favorite situations during hot summer months.
Westerly flow brings usually many good storms right off upper Florida Keys.
During this night, it was so amazing to be out there - there is no way to
explain the experience with words alone. I will try anyway...
|The left shot is actually from early in the afternoon. It was taken over the
Atlantic ocean off upper Florida Keys and I was amazed by sun and stormy
environment creating such good colors. It happens many times during storms
but you can not always be there. The thunderstorm is departing toward
Bahamas. You could here deep, distant rumble of thunder coming in from over
the horizon. The next photo was taken just after sunset, you can see the
spectacular Indian Key there on the left side. I love to photograph lightning
with Indian Key in the same frame. The band stretches back to Florida Bay
and just keeps feeding these storms that mature right over the reef for the
most of the evening and the night. It was a great sight to witness all this strong
thunderstorm activity so close to shore for change. The previous two
years (seasons) were very slow for lightning photography.
|Moments later the light is perfect during dusk. Still a bit of deep blue in the sky
makes the best lightning photography. It is still the same convergence line as
above but with a heavy rain shaft now. The storm is in a dissipating stage.
|The real night of lightning photography is getting started now. Big lightning
bolt is a great display but I prefer the more complex scene in the right photo.
You can see a multiple negative lightning discharge on the right with heavy rain
signaling mature stage of the thunderstorm. Positive lightning bolt leaps out of
the top of the storm cell at the same time. I love the clear blue sky surrounding
the giant lightning bolt - also called superbolt or lightning bolt from the blue.
|The show is still going as this is about two hours of constant lightning flashes
and deep rumble later. Note that of course I only pick a few nice lightning
photos to publish here. There were so many lightning flashes, bolts of all kinds
you could not have counted them if you wanted to. The left photo above shows
a lightning scene over Florida bay. As it is lightning non-stop over the ocean I
notice flashing from behind me so I look behind me and notice a lone
thunderstorm literally spitting out positive lightning bolts like crazy. The hint of
blue sky and clouds illuminated are due to constant flashing from the ocean side.
The right photo is my most favorite lightning photo from this amazing night.
There is much beauty about lightning bolts of all shapes and sizes but lately I
have been liking more complex scenes as I said above. Lightning scenes where a
lot is happening and you don't concentrate just on the lightning bolt itself.
|The night intensified to the max between 2 - 3 am. Constant rumble of thunder
was even more amazing than the lightning activity and I very rarely say this.
The sound of thunder was coming in from all directions around me and various
distances. These sounds clashed and got distorted creating almost surreal
environment to be in. At times it sounded like being inside of a large haunted
house. Finally, the atmosphere got exhausted shortly after 3 am and the entire
show came to a close with a series of several extremely powerful positively
charged lightning strikes - the way it usually ends. What a spectacular finish.
|Again, I very much like the very right image for the lightning strikes into the blue sky.
The bolt actually connects very close to Upper Matecumbe Key. You have to love the vivid
branching displayed above. And of course, it was one of those lightning strikes where you
blink your eyes several times after and still can see the bolt impression each time you blink.
(c) 2008 - FloridaLightning.com