Lightning in the clouds over the Foothills

After the fireworks at Redwood Meadows last night, my children spotted lightning flashing to the east.  At that moment we voted to become storm chasers and we headed towards the prairies to see what the storm was all about.   It turned out to be far beyond my expectations!

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-388

This storm was hanging over the northern ridge above the Bow River and stretched from Cochrane to Calgary.  The size was impressive, but the electrical activity was truly spectacular.  The lightning flashed throughout the peaks and valleys of the clouds constantly for the entire two hours that we watched from a high spot near the Springbank Airport.  I will share more images from the night soon but when I saw this one, taken with my telephoto lens aimed at one spot that had been flashing steadily, I was excited to get a quick post out!

14 responses

  1. Pingback: More from the Canada Day lightning storm | Christopher Martin Photography

  2. The Stoked Traveler and Surfer's Blog

    awesome..!!! amazing photo..!!!

    July 4, 2016 at 1:19 am

  3. I like thunder, because they look so tiny in the distance, like in this photo is just a thin line in a dark background. But they are one of the strongest forces of nature!
    Awesome shot!

    July 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

  4. Way to catch this incredible moment in time, Christopher. Really fantastic and I can see why you are thrilled and I’m sure you were careful thanks to your long lens. Great job.

    July 3, 2016 at 12:11 am

  5. A great shot Christopher!

    July 2, 2016 at 7:24 pm

  6. I have mixed emotions in regard to this. Standing in a high spot with thunder and lightning? And with tornado warnings in your area telling people to take shelter? Hmmm. But I understand and think it is great that your kids are not afraid of thunder and lightning and were able to share the excitement. Look at those clouds! And what a light show! Look forward to more photos.

    July 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    • Hi Jane – thank you for commenting. The line of the storm was diagonal to my position with the distance from the storm being 16km at the closest and 20km at the furthest. Lightning has been recorded traveling from a storm cloud those distances but it is extremely rare therefore I chose to photograph from that location. My children were not allowed to be out of the car therefore they were in no danger, however remote it may have been. The tornado warning was downgraded to a severe thunderstorm at 11pm which was 40 minutes before we left Redwood Meadows. The warning was for Airdrie, Cochrane, Didsbury, Olds and Sundre. We were south of the edge of that warning by no less than 16km with clear sky directly above us and in all directions barring the massive thunder cloud grouping to the north. At no point was there any tornado danger at my location while we were there. That is the beauty of using a long lens, I was able to be right there without having to be right there. I am little defensive but would not want there to be an impression that I was anything but exceptionally careful about my children and their safety.
      Best regards,

      July 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      • My apologies Christopher, I was out of line.I know how caring and committed you are to your children, it is apparent in all your blogs that you write about them. You certainly know what you are dealing with with regards to weather, I admire your knowledge. I do believe that was exciting for all, I used to be so afraid of lightning and thunder but enjoy watching the lightshows now.Wishing you and your family the best and look forward to more storm photos as well as the birds and animals.

        July 3, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      • Hi Jane – thank you. I don’t think you were out of line, I appreciate that you care enough to say. As I said, I was defensive but am always happy to have a discussion rather than not have the opportunity to address your concern. I too wish you and yours the very best.
        Warmest regards,

        July 4, 2016 at 12:57 am

  7. chrisinvalhalla

    Have you heard of light sensor that will activate shutter? I read about these things and thought this is the application for such a thing.

    July 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    • I have heard of them and think they would be a great piece of gear to have. That said, I have not used one yet so I haven’t any real world experience to provide a comment on how well they work.

      July 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      • chrisinvalhalla

        Well you have excellent skills.

        July 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      • Thank you Chris. It was dark enough that I could leverage long exposures which made catching a strike much easier.

        July 2, 2016 at 8:17 pm

  8. Pingback: Lightning in the clouds over the Foothills — Christopher Martin Photography | things I've read or intend to

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