Sunday, September 11, 2011

Delicate storms, beautiful sights

Saturday provided some pretty albeit tame weather. I started and ended by chasing some lightning in two separate storms, the results of which are below. For the late-afternoon storm, I waited on the beach for the rain to go out to sea. I was anticipating perfect conditions for a full rainbow: The storm was small and clearly defined, so once the system went over the ocean, the setting sun would break through in the west and make for a nice bow over water in the east. And that's precisely what happened. I shot this double rainbow at Patrick Air Force Base (my lens wasn't wide enough to pick up the second bow).

I started Saturday afternoon at Lake Washington, which is just west of Melbourne proper. The west and east coast seabreezes collided here and a storm quickly formed. When I snapped this shot, lightning was striking every 10 seconds, signaled by loud thunder each time -- an amazing site and sound that I did not catch on film.

I drove to the Indian River and stopped on the Eau Gallie Causeway, just to get out of the rain. I tried to shoot the lightning from afar. There was a decent amount of bolts on the storm's leading edge. Many traveled into the clear blue sky in front of the storm. This was the only bolt I caught.

After the rainbow, I picked up some groceries. When I emerged from the store after sunset, some mammatus clouds were drooping toward the ground.

Around 10 p.m., another storm formed well south of my apartment. I didn't chase it, and by the time the northbound storm reached me, it contained only intracloud lightning. Few of the bolts were actually visible.

The lightning nicely illuminated the clouds and the heavy rain core beneath them. There's nothing spectacular with any of these shots, but they do go to show that every storm has a unique look.

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