Some people love to watch it whilst others are terrified by it and hide under the covers. I love to photograph it.
Lightning is a massive electrostatic discharge between electrically charged regions within clouds, or between a cloud and the Earth’s surface. The charged regions within the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through a lightning flash, commonly referred to as a strike if it hits an object on the ground.
Image source: BOM
There are three primary types; from a cloud to itself (intra-cloud or IC); from one cloud to another cloud (CC) and finally between a cloud and the ground (CG). Although lightning is always accompanied by the sound of thunder, distant lightning may be seen but be too far away for the thunder to be heard.
Lightning occurs approximately 40–50 times a second worldwide, resulting in nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year.
A bolt of lightning can travel at a speed of 45km/s or 160 000km/h and can reach temperatures approaching 28 000°C, (6x hotter than the surface of the sun) which is hot enough to fuse soil and turn sand into glass.
One of the things I love about lightning photography is that no two strikes are the same. As individual as finger prints, every lightning image is a captured moment in time that can never be repeated.
The following collection of lightning images are just a few examples of the lightning I have photographed over the years whilst storm chasing.
Article updated: 1 Jan 2019