Electrical Storm

With just one clear night during the current lunar cycle, the long term weather forecast is telling me that the next clear sky evening will be in another week – the night of the next full moon. Brilliant!  😕

Tonight we had a public viewing night with Macarthur Astronomical Society in the Australian Botanic Garden but that was cancelled this morning.

So, what do astronomers do during bad weather?  😨

When the weather remains opposed to amateur astronomy, electrical storms always get my attention. Lightning photography is my second photographic passion. Here in Sydney, storms are prevalent from about December to February, so last night’s storm in the middle of March was a nice surprise.

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As with all images, they look better ENLARGED. You can enlarge any of the images by right clicking and selecting ‘open image in new tab’.

Yes, this is an astronomy website and I know lightning is not astronomy – but it is kind of cosmic (lame excuse). Anyway, my website, I can make or break the rules as I please.


During electrical storms I choose one of two methods to capture my lightning bolt images. I have a lightning trigger which I can attach to the camera – but this time I reverted to my tried and trusted method of taking continuous exposures with an intervalometer.

All of these images were taken with my Canon 60D DSLR camera, mounted on a tripod with a telescope counterweight (see, there is an astronomy connection) hanging below the tripod to provide stability in the wind during the long exposures.

The exposures were all 30 seconds, f/7.1, ISO 200, 25mm focal length and have been cropped to suit and given slight cosmetic contrast levels. I also had to manually remove a lot of long-exposure noise. I should have taken some dark frames.

None of the images are stacked, they are all single shots.

Images © R.Powell




  1. I,m sorry to say that evening the lightning we get here is a bit rubbish, mostly sheet lightning that lights up the clouds, very few ground strikes and nothing like the images you have taken. I also use the long exposure method on the rare occasion when we do get a storm and mostly just get illuminated clouds or just the hint of lightning between the clouds. I’m more than happy to view yours though, good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Will. Sheet lightning is very annoying isn’t it?
      We get no more than about six decent storms each year and sometimes my images are mostly duds. It is persistance that pays off.


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