Brisbane City Lightning

The storms will roll right in…

I’ve been tinkering with some photography on the side for a while now but nothing worth getting excited about… Until today that is !

Today started out like most typical Sub-Tropical Brisbane summer days. Hot, sticky, oppressive and muggy. I headed into the city for a photo walk (photos coming later) and my car is in the shop for some repairs so I ended up walking around for 3 hours until the midday sun came out and headed home. By the time I got home after lunchtime, I could see a MASSIVE anvil cloud on the horizon and the city was sweltering. I checked the weather radar and the anvil cloud I spotted was in another state – so at least 100km away from me.

Greenslopes Lightning Strike

The first cell rolled through from the south and I had been tracking it’s path North for 4 hours and it just kept coming faster and faster. I managed to get a shot of it spanking Greenslopes with a nice Cloud-Ground (CG) strike just as it unleashed it’s fury in the city. I’ve seen a lot of thunderstorms but the wind had an eerie feeling to it and I was counting over 40 lightning strikes per minute or more.

The rain was coming in sideways and I had to abandon my long exposure shots. About half an hour later, an ominous looking storm front started gathering over Mount Coot-tha to the west and just like the last one was coming in fast! This storm wasn’t as electric as the first storm but was on top of us before too long. The wind and rain were very intense.

As far as I was concerned at that point, the excitement was over. How wrong I was! Not to be outdone, the sun came out just in time for sunset. The word epic is just an under-statement to be blunt. It looked like the entire sky was on fire. I’ve never seen such an amazing post-storm sunset before. I still don’t have the words to express the eerie glow that it had, I’ve actually never seen another one like it in my life…

Brisbane Burning Sky
I quickly snapped my panorama (5 images as above) and realised that something amazing was happening. The sky was still alight above my head. Back on the tripod and I caught a glimpse of a sheet-lightning “crawler” but didn’t get it quite in frame. It isn’t every day that you’re able to catch a stunning sunset AND lightning in the same frame. I felt very gifted to be able to witness this amazing spectacle of nature, but it wasn’t over yet!

Brisbane Sunset Lightning

The disturbed patch of storm-air had moved back over the city again. I watched a couple of “crawlers” light up the sky and pointed my lens back in the general direction. It wasn’t long at all before I was able to capture probably my best lightning photo in my photography career so far. The sky lit up and I smiled. It lasted between 5-6 seconds and was stunning to say the least.

Brisbane Epic Crawler Lightning

This was a very exciting day for me, photographically speaking. Everything seemed to fall into place. It was breathtaking. I can’t wait to show off some more of our summer storms again soon, storm season in South-East Queensland has JUST BEGUN!

1 Comment

  • Josh Marshall December 5, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Awesome shots, it was a crazy storm, we were headed north travelling away from it and arrived home seconds before it hit.

    You have an amazing vantage point there, was all worthwhile for those pics!


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