SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2012
"First Thunderstorm of 2012"
Ah, the joys of spring! Even if it is a bit early, I do love the signs of spring. Perhaps the most exciting sign of spring (for me, anyway) is the return of the thunderstorm. Last night we had a whopper of a thunderstorm make its way over Grand Portage Bay. This was a very localized storm, with brief but heavy rainfall and some medium-sized hail. Oh, and an awesome display of lightning! I was up late last night working on editing some photos when I started seeing flashes of light outside my living room window. At first I thought I was seeing things. I thought "That can't be lightning... it's only mid-March!" But, sure enough, as time passed I noticed more and more flashes and soon it was apparent that it was indeed lightning. I grabbed my camera gear and headed out to do some shooting.
I went to a location just a half-mile from my house, one that afforded the best view of the approaching storm and one that would allow me to photograph the storm before any potential moisture fell. After photographing the lightning flashes for about 15 minutes, I noticed something that is not often discernible with an approaching thunderstorm in this area. I could HEAR the rain and hail approaching! Before the storm hit shore the conditions were incredibly calm, not a lick of wind and the lake was smooth as glass. But, out beyond the bay, the hard rain and hail was hammering the surface of the lake. What I heard was an ever-increasing sound, a haunting WHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH as the lake was pummeled by the rain and hail. Soon the sound was quite loud and when the lightning flashed I could see that at any moment the moisture was going to hit shore. A good time to get back in the truck, I thought!
So, I packed up my camera and walked back to the truck. I had only taken a few steps when the rain started to fall. It was only about 100 feet back to the truck and by the time I got there it was pouring. By the time my gear was put away in the back seat and I was sitting in the driver's seat, the sound of hail was all I could hear as it pelted the sheet metal of my truck. I drove around to the other side of the bay to see if I could get a different angle on the storm, and it was barely raining just two miles away! Short but sweet, as they say. The rest of the night we had a crystal-clear sky exploding with stars.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
Focal length: 17mm
Shutter speed: 25 seconds