Split Lightning Bolt

First Successful Lightning Captures of the Monsoon

Is this how Moses felt?

Burning Bush - Is this how Moses felt?

As most of you know, I rarely spend any time on Twitter. After a fabulous steak dinner with a groups of friends tonight I got home and popped open Twitter to discover an impending storm warning. I grabbed the gear and the family and we headed out. I knew I wouldn’t have much time so I had to find someplace close. I lucked out and after a short jaunt straight up the hillside my thirteen year old and I enjoyed some spectacular lightning. Most came in between photographs, but the trip was still worth it.

We endured lightning directly overhead and got to witness multiple ground strikes near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. I couldn’t tell what was struck but my curiosity has been peaked as to what we saw. After seeing the lightning strike what most likely were lightning rods there was immense glowing from a circular object on the ground. Hard to describe it, but imagine a bass drum filled with propane and lit on fire. I’m guessing these were some kind of lightning arrestors designed to absorb all that energy. They earned their keep tonight.

Lightning touching down


Below are two of my favorite images from the night. We battled some very high winds and I spend much time holding onto the tripod hoping my camera wouldn’t go tumbling down the mountain. Thankfully the winds let up enough to focus on making images and I even made a couple of short videos just for the fun of it. Having a second person with me was very handy because while the lightning in front of me was spectacular it was the storm approaching behind me that I was worried about. Sure enough it’s the one that caught us still on the hilltop as the skies opened and the rains came pouring down. Sadly, the rain didn’t fall as long as I would have liked.

Split Lightning Bolt

Split Bolt - Not a Composite

Three is Better Than One - Not a Composite

Three is Better Than One - Not a Composite



  1. Scott Wood · July 10, 2011

    Love those shots. We almost headed out that direction but went south instead.

    • JackAZ · July 12, 2011

      Thanks Scott. Looks like you did pretty good yourself down south. They were so scattered from where I sat that I had to go wide angle in hopes of catching anything.

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