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We had a wicked series of thunderstorms tonight, so my wife encouraged me to try to take pictures of the lightning. It took about a half an hour, but I managed to catch a bolt hitting the Sears Tower. It probably got hit about 30 times while I was setting up, and this was the last one of the bunch. I was lucky to catch it. I think it came out pretty good for my first try at lightning photography.

Interestingly, after some of the lightning strikes there would be a HUGE cloud of smoke or vapor or something that would rise off the tower. I don't know what it was. Hopefully just accumulated rain on top of the tower vaporizing in the lightning.

SearsTowerLightning.jpg

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WOW for the first try I would say you did a excellent job.

There were a lot better ones that I missed. There was one that hit both antennae and kind of flared out at the sides. I wish I would have gotten that one.

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Nice shot! So is this pretty much a random thing; you just keep snapping shots until you catch one? Or do you have superb reflexes? ;)

I tried the reflexes thing at first (I have a cable release), but that didn't work.

So what I did was set the camera to the normal settings I use for nighttime skylines. Then I just click.

The shutter stays open for about ten seconds. Then it takes eight seconds to write the file. When it's done, I click again. I missed a few while the camera was writing the files, but got one eventually.

I've seen on web sites like makezine.com how you can build a lightning detector that will automagically trip the camera, but I don't do it that often so it's not worth building something special.

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