I knew we were getting storms, I just couldn’t tell when. While I was at work, my dad alerted me that something was developing. Being a huge weather nerd, I pulled up every map. Base velocity radar, live lightning maps, and even NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite. Everything was lining up for the perfect line of storms. Lots of upper atmosphere instability, very humid, and what excited me the most was the angle at which the line of storms was coming from. Typically a line of storms will hit WNY coming from a due west direction. This line was different coming from a southwest direction but similar to a pattern we are all used to – lake effect snow. The angle in which these storms moved over Buffalo before Hamburg gave me a slim chance to set up for this dream shot.
I arrived at Hamburg Beach with about five other people already watching the storm approaching. I found a spot on the east side of the parking lot and readied my gear for another epic shoot.
Upon starting, I had reeled off some 20 pictures that were nothing, no lightning. Lightning is one of the hardest subjects to capture. You have to predict where the next bolt will hit. So, I repositioned and got hit with a huge gust of the wind that was all sand from the beach to my left. I braved through it and watched the lightning intensify and get closer. A lot closer. I was the first metal object right off the lake and was a little worried about a bolt coming for me.
Getting the shot
I saw the cloud to ground lightning bolts progressively moving closer to the city so I changed a couple settings in my camera to ensure I was not going to miss this. When I looked up from the back of my camera and saw a single, huge bolt hit the city, It felt like a dream coming true. The exact image I pictured in my mind for so long, I finally witnessed. It was so bright, I could still see the bolt “burned” in my vision. Kinda like when someone takes a picture of you and you see the flash spots. I stepped down behind the camera and started the very next picture, a 10-second exposure and on the very last second, the twin bolts struck! As soon as I saw the image show up on my screen, I just about shouted.
September 18th, 2017
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