South Dakota’s Blackhills captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8 & Miops

The Midwest & West this time of year literally light up with the heat. Monsoons from the south bring up moisture and when it mixes with the heat, afternoon thunderheads form and with them, lightning! While some folks and critters are not big fans of Mother Nature’s fireworks, I can’t get enough of them! Yes, there is some danger in this pursuit to ourselves and our gear. That is something you must keep in mind. The National Weather Service has a great page of info to brief and keep you safe. I’ll be honest, my success in coming back with images I want to post like the one above is not very common. The main reason, just because you show up doesn’t mean the light will strike where you want it. This is what I do to improve my odds.

It begins with looking at weather apps to see where they predict afternoon thunderstorms. Just because they make the prediction is NO guarantee you’ll come back with the photo. Next, I look at the location to see if there is a foreground to go with the light. This requires a bit of map work and web searches. With this done if, if there is a better than 50/50 chance of light and there is a landscape to put it with, I’ll make the run.

These days, the photography is really darn easy, day or night! In all seriousness, just get a Miops and that’s that. If there is one mistake most folks make in this pursuit is going to wide. If you have amazing skies were a spark makes a good ascent, then go wide. Otherwise, go long, like 85mm or more. If you have a vehicle that has a hatch that opens, that helps to stay dry otherwise, expect to get wet in this process. Watch the wx map for hail as it not only can hurt, it can damage gear, vehicle and you! Otherwise, it’s the season to get out with a little heat, a little moisture and boom!

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