Thunderbird. Clouds of the approaching storm spread across the western sky.
A well-defined line of storms was headed our way and looked like a good possibility for shelf cloud photos, so I headed out in the early evening to intercept the storm.
Radar Image of the Approaching Weather – My Location Near Center
Things don’t always work out the way one expects and that may be especially true with weather. The rule proved true but I wasn’t terribly disappointed because of the way things worked out.
Evening Flight. Sunset colors illuminate the clouds. A tiny dot in the upper right-hand area of this image is an airliner on an evening flight.
I could hear rumbles of thunder to the north and caught a glimpse of two lightning bolts: one from cloud to ground, the other within a gap in the clouds. But as the line of storms came nearer, the sun was sinking lower reducing the energy driving the weather. While the prospects of strong storm images dimmed, the developing sunset lit the roiling clouds in beautiful and unexpected ways.
Fiery Wave. A swirl of storm clouds lit by sunset.
Storm clouds moved and swirled as they passed across the western sky and rolled overhead, changing from minute to minute. No shelf cloud to be had but the show was wonderful.
Maw of the Storm. Colors fading and clouds closing in.
All but ended, clouds closed in ending the evening’s show, the conclusion of a glorious sunset storm.
Darkness Falls. Clouds cover the sky and the blue of nightfall tints the scene.
Catching up on postings, I’ll start with last night’s efforts watching for meteors. While waiting for the sky to darken, I enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the lake at Letha House Park West, a Medina County (Ohio) Park System property. (I have after-hours access.) I’m glad I arrived early even if the wait for darkness was all the longer.
A Showy Sunset made Waiting for Meteors a Pleasure.
The annual Perseids meteor shower was highly-anticipated, not only because it reliably produces many bright “shooting stars,” but because Moon was in its new phase August 11 — no natural light pollution! Unfortunately, with thin haze and clouds overhead, human-produced light pollution from Medina, Ohio was quite bad! Still, we did see several “fireball” meteors — flashes brighter than the planet Venus — and I did capture a few. Best of the night showed two, yes two (2) meteors glowing at the same time! This is a stack of two sequential 15-second frames and both meteors appear in both frames at different stages of their burn! Close-up viewing of the streaks shows faint lines leading to the flares of these little fireballs heading generally left to right (east to west) in this crop from a 15mm fisheye lens field of view.
Pretty Pair of Perseids: Two Perseid meteors glow high in the southern sky over constellation Sagittarius.
Now, I’m assuming these are meteors; there’s something odd about the timing and appearance of the streaks and flares. There would have been a one- or two-second delay between the end of the first exposure and the beginning of the second, which seems long for a meteor. No Iridium satellite flares were predicted via Heavens Above. Time was 10:30, Saturday, August 11.
Meteors became a bit more frequent around midnight, which is typical, but the atmosphere was playing havoc with our observing. We left the observing site at about 1:00 AM with clouds building ever-thicker and lenses fogging up. It was a fun night watching for meteors… even if, or maybe because, they were a rare sight!
Into the Light. A Northern Water Snake seeks sunlight from its woodland perch.
Photo hikes in nature can present one with surprises. We visited the Lorain County MetroParks’ Sandy Ridge Reservation hoping and expecting to see an assortment of birds native to that wetland. What we did not expect to see along the way is, well, what you see here: a couple of small snakes literally hanging from and on trees! The first was a Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) stretched out along the skimpy branch of a tree along the trail. When we first saw the dark-colored reptile, a spot of sun was shining on it from between the trees; perhaps it was catching some rays to warm its cold blood. The snake allowed fairly close approach and did not move at all during the “photo session.” On the way back from enjoying the birds — there’s a long hike through a heavily-wooded area between parking lot and wetland — we spied another little snake. Snake number two had hung itself vertically on the trunk of a tree, head curved out parallel to the ground. The tree-hanging Butler’s Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri), like the water snake, held perfectly still during our entire time watching and photographing it. Snakes alive, what a surprise!
Hanging out (literally) on a tree is this Butler’s Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri).
Lightning over Medina County, Ohio, September 4, 2017
A train of strong thunderstorms rumbled through Ohio late Monday night. In some areas the storms were declared severe, even dropping a tornado or two, damaging trees and homes. Here, we were treated to needed rain and a brilliant light show.
Clouds, Rain, Lightning over Medina County, Ohio, September 4, 2017
Most of the lightning discharged somewhere in the clouds, the bolts unseen but lighting up the sky in brilliant repeated flashes. The sparks themselves could occasionally be seen and a few were spectacular.
Final Shot of the Night: Lightning over Medina County, Ohio, September 4, 2017
Over the course of an hour or so, I managed to capture several cloud-to-cloud strikes, most of which were fairly ordinary for such an active storm. I did see work from another photographer, who has a perch overlooking Lake Erie, in which twisted arcs fill the sky and reflect from the lake waters. I do miss Lake Erie.
Radar Image of Line of Storms. September 4, 2017
For all of us not asleep, the storms brought a lightning-brightened night and an opportunity to witness and record something of Nature’s power.
“Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” ― Dayna Lovely
Storm clouds flowed overhead at the edge of a storm seen from rural Medina County (Ohio) but light could be seen on the horizon. “Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” ― Dayna Lovely
Gust Front – Heralding a Rain Storm June 20
The first storm (above) was one I intercepted based upon radar tracking the evening of June 20. The gust front or outflow boundary was being pushed along by strong gusts of wind, probably peaking at about 30 MPH, followed in due course by moderate rain. Photos from others, in neighboring Lorain County, Ohio show that by the time the cloud formation reached me it was beginning to dissipate. Fun to watch and, as the gusts rocked my parked car, an exciting experience as well.
The image below was a target of opportunity. I driving to Portage County the evening of June 24 when, from the Ohio Turnpike, I watched a storm developing and dropping beautifully silhouetted rain streamers beneath dark clouds and against a bright horizon. I was frustrated that there was nowhere safe to stop and record the view so, as soon as I exited the toll road, I pulled over and shot what I could. Maybe not as dramatic as my highway views but an interesting sight, nonetheless! This photo is an assemblage of several individual images to create a panorama.
Rain Streamers in Silhouette, June 24, 2017.
Sunset Towers – A storm builds in the light of the late-day sun.
UPDATE: A small giclée canvas print of this image was contributed to the annual “In the Pink” show and raffle hosted by Hudson Fine Art & Framing Company in Hudson, Ohio. Proceeds from the sale benefit The Gathering Place, a local organization; their mission is to support, educate, and empower individuals and families touched by cancers through programs and services provided free of charge. I am pleased to have been a part of the show and fundraising effort! For more information on The Gathering Place please visit www.TouchedByCancer.org.
This started out to be an excellent year for photography. In addition to my still work, I was preparing to make my first nature film. Then we decided to buy a house and move. I look back at this blog now and fully realize how fully I dropped my artistic efforts. Finding, buying, and preparing a poorly-maintained house took the balance of summer and, now, the best of autumn. I hope it will be worth it. I do want to share here a photo I have come to love: it is both realistic and dreamlike; it is my remembrance of the seasons passed.