Thunderstorm Crossing Over Kent Island, Prospect Bay & Wye River, Maryland – July 18, 2012

My fascination with photography doesn’t end with birds.  This post is off the beaten path of birds but is a share of another part of nature that enthralls me.   Storms.  They come roaring across the Chesapeake Bay and barrel down on the Eastern Shore.  A few weeks ago we were hit hard with cell after cell around midnight that caused many people in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware with power outages and severe damage.  With the extreme heat, many suffered for a week or longer as they waited to have their power restored.

We were lucky with no outage, but it was frightening.  Being in a 12-unit condominium building and on the highest floor, we could feel our building sway in the 60-70 mph winds that slammed us.  It came on so sudden as we were sleeping, we could do nothing but ride it out as everyone else did.

The extreme heat has continued to stir up more thunderstorms since.  As I write this around 9:15pm, a wicked cell is passing over us now.  Lightning is frequent and striking very close by.  The waterview brightens up quickly and eerily before disappearing back into the darkness.

And yesterday around 6:00pm, we had another severe thunderstorm quickly come and quickly go.  Since it was still light out, I stood on my balcony and watched it build as it crossed from the Chesapeake Bay, and over Kent Island, Prospect Bay, and Wye River.  I decided to take some photos to see what I might capture.

Thunderstorm cell crossing the Chesapeake Bay and over Kent Island, Maryland

Along the edge of the storm, down-drafts were shooting off frequently, you can see some in the above photo.  The Weather Channel had just recently talked about these occurrences but I cannot remember the technical name for them.  I just worried that one would form a waterspout.  Here’s another shot of one of those downdrafts that went down and then retreated back up as it passed over Parsons Island.

Thunderstorm cell now over Parsons Island (at end of Kent Island), Maryland

The winds picked up to about 40 mph as the center of the storm rolled pass in front of me.  I noticed the cell began to grow, then suddenly it released a heavy downpour of  much-needed rain.

Thunderstorm cell over Prospect Bay and Wye River, Maryland, with CBEC in the foreground.

It swelled bigger and bigger…..

Thunderstorm intensifies.

And then cloud to ground lightning started and continued with frequent strikes.  I’ve only gotten lightning two other times after many hours of watching and trying.  I hadn’t had time until this evening to check to see whether I even got one of the strikes last night.  WOW!!  This time I lucked out with four captures from one thunderstorm cell in three minutes!  Missed many times more, LOL.  Here they are….

As the downpour began blowing onto my balcony, I quickly retreated inside as I heard the fire sirens going off in Grasonville.  I hope all turned out well for those in Prospect Bay and along the Wye River, who took the brunt of this nasty thunderstorm cell.

What a challenge to capture lightning!  Of course, it’s important to be safe.  I took these shots with my new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 ED VR that finally came in last week after being on backorder for two months.  My other wide angle lens is a much slower Nikon 18-55mm lens.  So I’m guessing the speed of my new lens is how I was able to capture the lightning so many times yesterday!  COOL!  I love my new lens!!  🙂

Has any one else had any luck in capturing lightning?

As always, thanks for stopping by and your wonderful comments, I appreciate it!

39 thoughts on “Thunderstorm Crossing Over Kent Island, Prospect Bay & Wye River, Maryland – July 18, 2012

  1. Congratulations on the new lens! I guess the wait for it only made receiving it that much better!! I think the wait was worth it as the photos are great. My son has some awesome lightning shots, but I am still trying. I have heard that if you are getting wet, you are too close! Stay safe and keep shooting.

  2. Fabulous as ever. We were there watching from our townhouse. That angle of our respective spots is so good for sunrises, sunsets and storms.

      • I can relate on tornadoes. I live in Harrisburg, Il that had the bad leap-day tornado. We had one damage our backyard year-before-last, and my daughter and I were in a Big one long time ago. Plus one when I was real young — so I’m tornadoed out.

  3. Excellent photos Donna! You have a fantastic but possibly spooky vantage point!!! I love stormy weather also…I can watch it for hours…haven’t gotten any decent lightning shots yet, but I’m still in the hunt!

    • I truly did luck out, I was very surprised, was hoping for just one. LOL I can watch it for hours too, sometimes hubby has to tell me to get inside or get away from the windows….which I do. 🙂 But it can be mesmerizing…and frightening at the same time. Gets your adrenaline going, that’s for sure!

  4. I love your storm photos. I think the storms that roll up the eastern bay are one of the best parts of living in Oyster Cove (we have a 2nd home in unit 1409)!. My Wife Mary and I always enjoy your pictures. Continued good luck with your new lens,

    • Thanks John, glad you & Mary enjoy the photos and get to ‘visit’ OC with them when you’re not here. 🙂 Those storms really are pretty awesome to see coming. I know we all don’t like heavy snows, but even a snowstorm wall of snow coming is a beautiful sight.

  5. Great shots! Storms scare the heck out of me but are so fascinating.Thanks for sharing. Yes, there is definitely some severe weather happening out there, it is interesting to me to see what others are experiencing.

    • What is that we get mesmerized with things we fear?!! Me too, my adrenaline will get pumping as one is approaching but I just have to stand there and watch it. High winds really petrify me, always worried the big windows will blow, even though they are rated for up to 120 mph.

  6. Hurray for rain! We are loving these consecutive days of rain and cool. Hurray also for your great storm photos. These are fantastic lightning shots. I’ve never even tried to photograph lightning. The down-drafts look mighty scary…

    • Love the rain and coolness, I even got the shivers last night, it’s crazy! Now if we can just get a happy medium, low-mid 80’s and sunny days, we can both get back to some boating! I am always watching those downdrafts, keeping my eye on them, making sure a waterspout or tornado doesn’t form. I am definitely petrified of those darn things!

  7. outstanding shots its really challenge to capture such kind of scenes with every camera.You should have to be very quick.
    by the way I don’t think its a nice idea to endanger life only for passion.

    • It is a challenge, a lot of patience, and definitely luck! I stayed very safe during the storm, for sure. I cropped the photos of the lightning shots, they were actually striking about 5-7 miles away from me. When they are striking right out in front of us on the water or coming towards us, I don’t dare go outside, or even near my windows, too scary!

    • Hand-held. 🙂 To be honest, I hand-hold 99% of the time. Embarrassed to say it took me two years to buy a tripod, but I think I got great practice & experienced at hand-holding because of it.

  8. That must have been scary feeling your condo sway. The lightning photos came out great, but to be honest I was a little worried for you standing on your balcony. Even though the storm was on the other side of the bay, there is already a lot of ionization going on in the atmosphere.

    My family was once sitting on a porch swing, and we could see there was a distant storm, but there was no rain or activity in our vicinity. Then lightning struck a tree out of the blue elsewhere on our 13 acre lot. It made our hair stand on end. No one was hurt and everyone hustled inside, but it’s made me a lot more cautious about distant storms.

    • The storm cell had already passed me and there hadn’t been any lightning anywhere until just the moment I started shooting. Our balcony is fully roofed, I was against the wall at our storage closet well underneath, and I was not using a tripod. I also cropped the shots to give a closer view, they were much further away. Be sure, I am very careful with storms, I went right in after the shots, and stayed in until it was out of sight and our skies were clearing up. 🙂 I know and agree with what you said! We’ve been on the water boating for years with lightning storm cells and follow all the safety guidelines to stay safe until it passes. Lightning certainly is dangerous, generating in a direction not anticipated, and can be scarey! Glad no one was hurt with your family!

      • My husband grew up in New Jersey. He told me that he photographed lightning across the bay on a number of occasions and insisted that it wasn’t really dangerous. Just shows all that I know… 😳

        • You are correct on being safe on an impending thunderstorm with lightning! Two nights ago, we watched two guys in a flat-bottom boat keep crabbing during an intense t-storm cell that was right on top of us, lightning striking left and right. I worried for them! But they didn’t seem to care. Go figure, lol.

  9. Love the lighting pictures, do you mind if I ask the technique? do you just set a time interval? or you actually wait for it? long exposure?
    I tried that when I was in Toronto but I struggled a lot as we don’t get lighting in San Diego so the opportunities to practice are rare 🙂

    • To be honest, it was luck with me. Prior to those four captures from one storm, I had gotten only a single bolt from two separate storms in past four years. All this time, there’s been many MANY deletes of no lightning in the photo! This last time, I hand-held focused, camera at eye ready and waiting, and shot off 4-5 each time soon as I saw the lightning. I was leaning up against the wall for support and steadiness. Details are: 24mm f7.1 1/30sec ISO500. Again, luck, and I do love the challenge! 🙂

  10. Loved the photos! One of the best ways to capture lightning is to use aperture priority, stop the lens all the way down, and use very long shutter openings so that you can catch several bolts while the shutter is open. Your camera has to be mounted on a tripod for this, and neutral density filters can be used to keep the shutter open longer.

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