Extraordinary Storm

Photograph info: Sixteen chronologically ordered photographs from a fast-moving thunderstorm on Monday evening between 6:30 - 7:15 p.m.

We had a perfect summer day, blue skies and temps in the 70F range so I was surprised by the sound of thunder while working at my desk that evening. I went outside to investigate and saw very unusual clouds and colors, so I grabbed my camera and ran to a huge field at the end of the road to watch the storm go by. I had only the 85mm f/1.2L lens with me.

When I got to the field the sun popped out from its low angle in the sky, illuminating the dark clouds to the southeast and turning the trees and cornfields in front of me a deep gold. Thirty seconds later it started to rain and I was standing in front of an enormous full rainbow, end to end over Durham Township. It was impossible to photograph the whole rainbow (and the eventual double rainbow) without a super wide angle lens, so I focused on capturing a variety of smaller views.

Normally I'm not so indulgent with weather shots but it was challenging selecting just 16 images from the 200+ that I took in that short time. In ten years of photographing this area I've never seen a weather event so extraordinary!

My favorite shot isn't of the rainbow but the strangely shaped and colored clouds surrounding the quarter moon. There's a "humongous" version of that one and I'm making it available as a print, too.

Camera settings and post-processing: Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens at various f/stops and shutter speeds, ISO 100-200. Little to no post-processing. (And as always, no cropping.)

Thank you for visiting Durham Township!



woh amazing... i love the rainbows... did you shot.. all with 85???

Posted by shutterimagery on September 15, 2010 3:40 PM

This set is fantastic! It's amazing to know that they were all shot on the same day with the large amount of variation in the colors and textures. Great work as always in capturing your amazing area.

Posted by Aaronth on September 15, 2010 4:12 PM

shutterimagery: Thanks, yes, all shot with the 85. :)

Aaronth: Thank you, they were all shot within 45 minutes.

Posted by Kathleen on September 15, 2010 4:53 PM

Incredibly Beautiful

Posted by Lucy on September 15, 2010 6:03 PM

These are all very beautiful! Looks like Summer is having second thoughts!

Posted by Harry Snowden on September 15, 2010 7:28 PM

Must... not... make... "double rainbow" comment...
Aw, crap.

(Great set, though!):)

Posted by Steve B. on September 15, 2010 9:08 PM

You were very generous today. These are great photos of storms. And the rainbow shots are some of the best rainbow photos ever.

Posted by Technobabe on September 16, 2010 7:26 AM

Amazing weather event and amazing photographer! I'm glad you were there to capture this and thanks for sharing.

Posted by Clyde G. on September 16, 2010 8:51 AM

16 compelling reasons to join a religion, or just build one to suit. I'd love to browse the entire 200 religious documents! SW Idaho frequently plays host to "skies gone wild," with a 2" slit of pale blue on the western horizon where the setting sun ignites the heavens for the last show of the day, (Revelations Updates.) I will sometimes grab the camera and head for a nearby hilltop or field and snap 150-250+ experiments in composition. I don't seem to tire of the exercise, I hope you don't either:) OK Jon, put on some Bach or Beethoven, and pen up.

Posted by david tinnon on September 16, 2010 11:30 AM

I love the textures and tonal values. Beautiful job capturing an amazing experience!! Beautiful images!!

Posted by Kent Weakley on September 16, 2010 1:41 PM

Beautiful landscape photos!

Posted by Jay Hsiang Studio on September 16, 2010 5:03 PM

This is how I think KC's evening went....

Was that a rumble of thunder I heard while at my desk working?
I went outside to investigate and found that a late summer storm was perking.
So I grabbed my camera, my favorite tool to wield
And watched the storm develop, as I raced to the field.

Dark clouds are in the east, the sun is low and bright in the west.
The light is playing tricks. Now which exposure might be best?
How can I capture the rainbow, I can't frame both the ends?!
Why did I leave the house with only one lens?
But I'm up to a challenge, I'll work with what I got.
Hope the memory card is empty, so I can shoot quite a lot.

So many I have to choose from, it is so hard to select.
Just sixteen make the cut, they are "The Photo Elect".
Now post them to the Blog, so my followers an see
What was this evening's view in Durham, Bucks County.
Which is my favorite shot? I'll give them a hint.
I'll even sell it to them, make it available as a print.

Posted by JPH on September 16, 2010 5:14 PM

Beautiful shots. Love the pink colours in the clouds.

Posted by Tom on September 16, 2010 6:28 PM

Kathleen, great shots! Most rainbows only last for a few moments. This one lasted 40 plus minutes. I watched it with my daughter until the sun set and slowly the rainbow faded away. Thanks for sharing, now I get to see it again.

Posted by TJS in R-ville on September 17, 2010 8:51 AM

good study in clouds and rainbow, i really like those occasions.

Posted by minimodi on September 17, 2010 8:55 AM

JPH: A masterpiece of a poem! WOW!

Posted by Kathleen on September 17, 2010 10:46 AM

WOW! I can't believe there was no PP on these - amazing! They're all amazingly beautiful. The rich colors are stunning. Isn't God's creation fantastic?

Posted by Amanda on September 17, 2010 11:55 PM

Totally Stunnning.

Posted by Tom on September 18, 2010 5:42 AM

Love the clouds and the treatments
Great photography

Posted by Grant Stringer on September 18, 2010 8:02 AM

Well these captures are indeed SO fabulous and beautiful. I have been watching them again and again for some time now - thank you for posting these cloudscapes!

Posted by Truels on September 18, 2010 7:04 PM

Breathtaking!! I'm speechless. WOW!

Posted by Marcie on September 19, 2010 1:55 PM

Wonderful set! No doubt a very beautiful evening made for photography. The cloudscapes are really nice! When I looked through the set I missed more landscape shots, such an evening must have been perfect for that kind of photos, but reading your comment and finding what equipment you brought I can see why there were no wide angle shots.

Posted by Morten on September 21, 2010 5:52 AM

Great shots with the 85mm. Clouds always yield something different every time. The landscape in 'Storm Clouds and Late Day Sun' has a wonderful burnt orange. I hope this was an non PP pic.

Posted by yyzwatt on September 21, 2010 8:54 PM

Great set! Loved the one with the autumn trees and the rainbow.

Posted by Cole on September 22, 2010 12:04 AM

This is a great collection of clouds and rainbows. I can't pick just one as a favorite. I do like the moon but I think I favor one or two of the dramatic clouds moving through.

Posted by Wendy on September 23, 2010 11:16 PM

yyzwatt: The post-work (on any shots that had post-work) took less than 30 seconds each - basically opening the file and applying a slight S curve for contrast accuracy. The image you mentioned had no post-work at all. Thanks!

Posted by Kathleen on September 24, 2010 10:33 AM

Oh, I just love this set! I miss living in PA and enjoying clouds like these! I love that so many of these images are just "bits and pieces" of the scene, as opposed to the more obvious wide shots. They mean something different this way, and they're just MAGICAL!!! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Jen on September 24, 2010 5:46 PM

WOW! I was SOOO sure that these were photoshopped until till I explored further. THANK YOU! And thanks for the camera info. I'm looking to upgrade but I've broken and/or drowned too many cameras. Can't afford to make a mistake.

Posted by marianne on October 12, 2010 5:30 PM

Gorgeous frames....

Posted by Arash on October 18, 2010 5:00 AM

Beautiful series! great shots.

Posted by zooperdido on October 18, 2010 5:46 PM
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