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Anvil Crawler Lightning

Posted by
Jason Politte (Conway, AR, United States) on 9 July 2012 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

I have been looking for this film negative scan off and on for the past few years, and yesterday, I finally found it. While this wasn't captured on the best possible media (cheap consumer-grade Fuji film), it still remains one of my favorite lightning shots.

I shot this on June 5, 2001 after chasing a supercell thunderstorm near Woodward, OK all afternoon and evening. The storm never managed to produce a full-fledged tornado (just a few funnels), but the lightning show as the day wore down was spectacular.

I shot photographs and video of anvil crawlers for about thirty minutes before a streamer that I witnessed and caught on video only a few feet away from me made me rethink what I was doing. I promptly gathered up my gear and enjoyed the show while making my way to the nearest hotel.

This image required a lot of dust spotting and scratch repair. After about 1 1/2 hours, I finished repairing the image and reminded myself why I love digital so much. ;-)

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Doug from Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom

An incredible capture, it must have been quite an adrenaline ride to follow it

9 Jul 2012 6:40am

Nigel from Avening, United Kingdom


9 Jul 2012 7:32am

Dimitrios from ATHENS, Greece


9 Jul 2012 7:57am

Laurette from Fourways - Johannesburg, South Africa

A fantastic capture Jason It must have been an amazing experience to witness such a fierce and beautiful storm. Well done indeed !

9 Jul 2012 10:34am

Lougris from Toulouse, France

Superbe prise !! incroyablement impressionnant.

9 Jul 2012 11:02am

Othersideblue from Kerman, Iran

Angery furious sky - very well captured

9 Jul 2012 11:39am

CElliottUK from Reading, United Kingdom

This is, without doubt, my favourite shot of the day

9 Jul 2012 11:52am

@CElliottUK: Thank you very much, Chris - glad you liked it so much. :-)

tataray from france, France

Ohhhh c'est excellent ....
Remix ))

9 Jul 2012 12:41pm

@tataray: Thank you very much, Raymonde!

Phil from Sausset les Pins, France

Amazing capture ! I know I'm wrong but I can't stop imagine this shot is turned , Phil

9 Jul 2012 12:55pm

Thea from Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Guess you are a real storm chaser :) and it pay's off...breathtaking shot !

9 Jul 2012 1:01pm

Arash from Brisbane, Australia

Great shot, nice catch ! well done ! :-)

9 Jul 2012 1:47pm

Rick from Toronto, Canada

Awesomeness as only Nature can provide it! I love the up sweep in these bolts, and their dramatic setting. Wicked shot, Jason, and a nice clean up job with the contemporary tools at hand!

9 Jul 2012 2:15pm

Moein from Tehran, Iran


9 Jul 2012 2:52pm

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

After doing so much repair to the image, I can definitely see it was worth your effort! Beautiful capture!

9 Jul 2012 3:25pm

Heinz from Hamm, Germany

Jason, für einen Negativ-Scan ist das eine gute Qualität.

9 Jul 2012 3:34pm

Nicou from Sion, Switzerland

Grandisoe captage de cet éclair superbe iamge quel captage superbe effet de la foudres.

9 Jul 2012 3:41pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Jason I loved your narrative - just superb. We really get the feeling and understanding of your experience and the work you went to to retrieve and work on this print.....The picture quality is fantastic I think especially considering your text...your 1-1/2 hours were quite obviously tedious but rewarding here as we look at this in awe. What an amzing picture this is....never really seen anything quite like it. Anvil Crawlers...rather like mean,nasty, electric cousins to the Night Crawlers, I guess....but these arent going for fish. Just a phenomenal piece of work, Jason! Bravo!!

9 Jul 2012 4:25pm

@Denny Jump Photo: Thanks much, Denny! This type of lightning is a real wonder to observe as it crawls across the anvil of storms and then overhead. It's quite the phenomenon to see firsthand. :-)

gerard1948 from Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Fabulous and very interesting, a great image of a storm. Good repair work.

9 Jul 2012 4:35pm

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States

An excellent image of the lightning. It looks like antlers coming off the cloud.

9 Jul 2012 4:56pm

Elaine Hancock from Rockville, United States

Wow Jason, this is a fantastic image! I think the other thing I think about is that you were out in it. I would not be so brave. I am glad that you found it. I think all the work you did on it paid off. It is spectacular!

9 Jul 2012 5:06pm

Bruno FROMENTIERE from Planète Terre, Europe, France

Nice catch !

9 Jul 2012 5:12pm

Baldwin VW from Bejuma, Venezuela

Great capture of this impressive lightning !!!

9 Jul 2012 5:29pm

Phil Morris from Saskatoon, Toronto, Canada

A beautiful moment indeed, and there seem to be no lightning stikes here,
just as if they threw up their arms, the electricity is undeniable !~

9 Jul 2012 5:58pm

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

What a great story to go with this beautiful shot Jason! What an electric shot! ;-)

9 Jul 2012 6:37pm

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Very strange & beautiful, good capture.

9 Jul 2012 8:08pm

RBL from Oxford, United States

Fantastic light show and mood ~ a memory for a lifetime ~ great result from your repair!

9 Jul 2012 8:21pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

fine capture

9 Jul 2012 11:23pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

spectacular capture of lightning! very well done!

10 Jul 2012 3:43am

Sue-Ann from Quebec, Canada

very well captured, so difficult to do, no success for me... very nice...

10 Jul 2012 3:58am

Michael Rawluk from Williams Lake, BC, Canada

That is an amazing shot, Jason.

10 Jul 2012 4:07am

B. Thomas from Arlington, Texas, United States

Amazing shot.
I have spent lots of time cleaning scanned images too, so I know what you are saying about loving digital! Me too.

10 Jul 2012 4:16am

Joyce from Montana, United States

Hi Jason! Love lightning captures and see why you do this one. Enjoy your description of the image too, and all your tech talk...:-) anvils and streamers sound intimidating. What a dare devil your were before Karen tamed you.

10 Jul 2012 2:04pm

@Joyce: Ha ha - daredevil . . . I don't know about that. I am very calculating though, and that includes risk factors and management. I am more than willing to take risks for certain rewards, but when that lightning streamer appeared right in front of me when one of those crawlers went overhead, I decided the risk was worth more than the potential reward. ;-)

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

A magical image and superb restoration work, Jason.

11 Jul 2012 1:31pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

It's awesome, I'd be happy if I could catch just one lightning strike in my whole life (nothing so far, but we get precious few storms here).

12 Jul 2012 10:28am

franz from Baden, Austria

a striking photo, jason! surely your hard labours are bearing fruit here ...

16 Jul 2012 4:52pm

Francesca from Austin, United States

Stunning. Love the story behind it. It shows your dedication. :) Worth all the work involved, I'm sure.

23 Jul 2012 5:18pm

@Francesca: Thank you, Francesca! I love this shot but wish I had shot this on a higher grade of film. Can't have everything, eh?

Stu from From Scotland | Living in 京都 Kyoto, Japan

It really is spectacular.

24 Jul 2012 10:11am

Ainsley from Derbyshire, United Kingdom

Super lighting shot so difficult to do, I haven't ever managed to achieve it yet. Great that you finally found it!

2 Aug 2012 1:36pm

@Ainsley: Thanks, Ainsley! With an active storm, this sort of shot isn't difficult at all. Tripod, camera on manual and bulb setting with remote shutter release. Open the shutter, wait for the lightning, close the shutter - simple as that. I really wish I had been shooting a higher grade film for this shot. Thanks again!