Itâ€™s pictures like these that make me a) want to do more photography, b) feel more in awe of nature than I already am, and c) wonder how the photographer didnâ€™t pack up his gear and run away screaming. But thank goodness the talented storm chasers didnâ€™t run away, they actually witnessed a very rare event, up close.
This astounding image was shot by photographers Francis Schaefers and Daniel Burger when they were chasing a thunderstorm along a beach in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. Chasing a storm along a beach. The best bit of the SpaceWeather.com article comes right at the end, where it says that Schaefers and Burger took a series of shots from â€œunderneath a balcony where they figured the lightning wouldnâ€™t reach.â€
Let me emphasise that last bit: underneath a balcony.
Balls of steel comes to mind. For me, nothing less than a reinforced bunker surrounded by lightning rods will do.
Anyway, back to why this image is so fantastic. When lightning strikes the ground, if you are able to get the timing perfect, you might be able to capture â€˜upward streamersâ€™ rising from the ground to meet the leading edge of the bolt, as NASA lightning expert Richard Blakeslee explains:
Itâ€™s hard to imagine if this streamer phenomenon has been observed to reach out from water before, but this Dutch example must be very rare. Itâ€™s hard enough to photograph lightning streamers on solid ground, let alone on the surface of a body of water.
In case you werenâ€™t already amazed, check out this shot. Itâ€™s called The Cruise You Donâ€™t Want to Take for very obvious reasons: