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Young's Photo Gallery


James W. Young, Professional Photographer

Lightning

Lightning
My first 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 consisted of
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 opening the
shutter on 'bulb'.  When I saw a 'strike', I stopped the exposure, advanced
the film, and started another exposure.  This was my best image, which clearly
reveals 8 separate 'strikes', all following the same path!



Lightning
This image of lightning clearly shows a 'downpour' of rain between the lightning
strikes and the photographer at Table Mountain on September 29, 1967.  The
tower to the right was (no longer exists) some 40 miles away at Hawes Auxilary
Airport, near Hinkley, California.



Lightning
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 exposure, hoping
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.

LightningFire
A few hours later, this small tree fire was spotted about three miles from the
  observatory. The intense rainfall kept the fire from spreading beyond the tree. 
The USFS fire crew put out the remaining embers the following morning.




Lightning
Two weeks later on October 1, 1981, and also at Table Mountain Observatory,
an intense storm crossed the Mojave Desert from south to north.  This time,
there was no rain where I was, and several hours were spent photographing
'waves' of lightning 'strikes' over the Victorville area some 25 miles to the
east.  The next 8 frames are additional images from the same storm.

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning





Lightning
On May 30, 1884, 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)

Lightning

Lightning




Lightning
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.

Lightning

Lightning





Lightning
This and the next picture, taken October 23, 1992, and still from Table Mountain
Observatory show another storm crossing about 30 miles east over Victorville.

Lightning





Lightning
This and the following two images were obtained from Mt Hopkins, southern Arizona,
on July 5, 1999, looking from 8400 feet elevation toward Tucson.

Lightning

Lightning





Lightning
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.

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning
Next to the strike on the left, a electrical power pole 'transformer' glows as it
burns out.

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning
There is a small fire in the lower center of this and the following image.

Lightning

Lightning
The same fire is to the left center in this image.

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning
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 exact
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 the
cover photograph for the National Weather Calendar for 2007.

Lightning
This bolt of lightning was so intense, the 'strike' appeared extremely wide, even
after attempting to narrow it in image processing!

Lightning

Lightning

Lightning



The following 4 images were obtained in daylight...my first attempt at doing so
successfully!  They were imaged on September 12, 2011 in an area east of US
Highway 89, near Gray Mountain, Arizona (34 miles north of Flagstaff).  These
images were obtained at ISO 50, with the lens at f/22 (& details under each)
I took 104 frames, about 20 were hand-held before getting the tripod.  This
storm was intense, about two miles west of my location, but with no rain on me.

lightning
2 second exposure, hand-held with 38mm lens setting

lightning
2 second exposure, hand-held with 42mm lens setting

lightning
3 second exposure, using a tripod, with 50mm lens setting

lightning
6 second exposure, hand-held with 70mm lens setting


The following image was taken east of Kingman, Arizona, just off the I-40
interstate.  3 seconds, hand-held, 70mm lens setting at f/16.  If one looks
carefully, multiple strikes can be seen in two of the strikes themselves.

lightning



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