Monday, September 17, 2012

A storm's backside

Click for larger view. On July 17, I ran over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, as usual, and saw this storm form and move off to the north. I thought the view was somewhat interesting, as a storm's rear is usually shrouded by rain and rarely photogenic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Intense lightning, a shelf cloud and another bridge

On July 24, I drove a short distance to the Ashley River, where the North Bridge connects Charleston and North Charleston. I set up by the river as a severe thunderstorm rolled through. The above shot is of the shelf cloud that it formed, and a crescent moon.

Even at night, the layers in the clouds were plain to see when lit by lightning.

The lightning was frequent, but I struggled to capture it without my rain-ruined Nikon, which is equipped with a remote control.

The precipitation seemed focused in the central section of the storm.

Lightning through the rain.

The lightning illuminated some nice structure underneath this storm. It was surprisingly healthy for a storm that formed after sunset and persisted in the nighttime hours.

The shelf cloud directly overhead.

I looked in the other direction and saw the shelf cloud pushing into Charleston.

A branching bolt extended from a low cloud.

It's electric.

A closeup.

After a bit, the rain became unbearable, and I took cover under the bridge, where people where casting nets for fish.

This shot represents four sequential strikes in the same column. Unlike anything I've heard, thunder actually rang out four distinct times. Deafening.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A tree and a lens that are no longer with us

Back in March, I visited my girlfriend in Charleston, W.V., and used my macro lens for the last time. I shot some bees that were swarming in the blossoms of this tree near her house.

Sadly, however, both the tree and the lens are long gone. The tree fell in June during the destructive derecho -- a large and long-lasting complex of thunderstorms -- that started in the Midwest, swept across the Appalachians and marched straight to the coast. And my macro lens, of course, was stolen earlier that same month.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Apparently, Nikons can't cheat death

A fire chief looks at the rain falling on the sidewalk outside the Spoleto Festival USA headquarters on George Street in downtown Charleston.

On July 11, I was out on an assignment when I was told to head to the scene of a suspected lightning strike at an important building in downtown Charleston.

A severe thunderstorm was pushing through the area, bringing hail, heavy wind and torrential rain.

When I got there, I put my work-owned Canon into a Rainsleeve and my Nikon into a plastic bag, which then went inside a shoulder bag. I took shots with the Canon, but I never removed my Nikon.

I thought it was safe.

I went on to other locations in the downtown area, photographing tourists walking through putrid floodwater on Market Street. My clothes got soaked.

It was all for a relatively routine story: Flooding is quite common here.

The Canon stayed dry. But later that evening, when I removed the bag containing my Nikon from my vehicle, I noticed that the plastic bag inside was soaked and the camera inside that was wet as well.

I placed the Nikon under a ceiling fan all day, then into a bag of rice. But the battery apparently shorted out at one point, and I think some circuitry must have been destroyed.

Regardless, my Nikon went kaput only two weeks after I got it back from the person who stole it. I delayed writing about it in hopes that I could resurrect the camera, but I had no such luck.

I suppose I've had a streak of bad luck. When it rains, it pours.

People took pictures on a flooded Market Street during the severe thunderstorm.

In hindsight, this was gross. I'm pretty sure there was sewage in them there waters.

The guy in the middle was lifting his shirt in an attempt to guard his nose from the stench.