Young's Photo Gallery
James W. Young,
encounter with photographing lightning came in the spring of 1966, as I
was traveling to Table Mountain Observatory. This lightning I saw
was some 50
miles north over the Mojave Desert. I knew that lightning usually
multiple 'strikes' in a matter of a second or less. In the above
image, I panned
the camera left and right at a moderate speed (on a tripod) after
shutter on 'bulb'. When I saw a 'strike', I stopped the exposure,
the film, and started another exposure. This was my best image,
reveals 8 separate 'strikes', all following the same path!
This image of lightning clearly shows a
'downpour' of rain between the lightning
strikes and the photographer at Table Mountain on September 29,
tower to the right was (no longer exists) some 40 miles away at Hawes
Airport, near Hinkley, California.
During an extremely heavy 'downpour', I set
up the camera on a tripod under the
eaves of a building at Table Mountain, and took a 20 minute time
to catch a close lightning strike. I never saw this strike
directly, so did not know
my results until I had the film developed and printed two weeks
later! This image
was obtained on September 17, 1981.
A few hours later, this small tree fire was spotted about three miles
observatory. The intense rainfall kept the fire from spreading
beyond the tree.
The USFS fire crew put out the remaining embers the following morning.
Two weeks later on October 1, 1981, and
also at Table Mountain Observatory,
an intense storm crossed the Mojave Desert from south to north.
there was no rain where I was, and several hours were spent
'waves' of lightning 'strikes' over the Victorville area some 25 miles
east. The next 8 frames are additional images from the same storm.
On May 30, 1984, another intense storm
crossed over the Mojave Desert to the
east, but only about 12 miles distant, and no rain on the
photographer! The next
two images show additional strikes, one even starting a small fire with
a trail of
smoke in the lower right (third image)
Then a second wave crossed the area to the
southeast of Wrightwood about six
miles distance a few hours later, taken from a different vantage
point at Table
Mountain Observatory. The next two images are of the same area.
This and the next picture, taken October
23, 1992, and still from Table Mountain
Observatory show another storm crossing about 30 miles east over
This and the following two images were
obtained from Mt Hopkins, southern Arizona,
on July 5, 1999, looking from 8400 feet elevation toward Tucson.
This and the following 20 images were
obtained from Table Mountain Observatory
on the night of August 14, 2005. And once again, these strikes
are seen over the
Mojave Desert, ranging from 7 miles to over 40 miles distant.
Next to the strike on the left, a
electrical power pole 'transformer' glows as it
There is a small fire in the lower center
of this and the following image.
The same fire is to the left center in this
This particular 'strike' landed only 7
miles to the north of the observatory.
Careful examination of the image allowed the author to drive to the
location of this strike two days later. Conversations with
residents in this
area revealed their memories quite well, but nothing was found, and no
damage to any structures was reported or seen. This image became
cover photograph for the National Weather Calendar for 2007.
This bolt of lightning was so intense, the
'strike' appeared extremely wide, even
after attempting to narrow it in image processing!
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