El Paso, Juarez and Lightning

April 24, 2009


Photographer: Chris L. Grohusko
Summary Author: Chris L. Grohusko, Greg Thompson

The photo above was captured during a thunderstorm near Juarez, Mexico, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from El Paso, Texas. This angry storm rolled through El Paso shortly after midnight on August 4, 2008. The camera is pointing straight south from a shopping center parking lot along Interstate 10. Because I didn't use a cable release, the city lights of El Paso and Juarez are blurred -- the shutter button was depressed manually.

As shown here, a huge cloud-to-ground bolt of lightning crashed to the surface not far from the camera position, while concomitantly, branching and arcing was noticeable between clouds. An interesting aspect of lightning that few people seem to realize is that most lightning bolts are really more than one flash/strike. The "main channel" of a lightning strike will often repeatedly flash two, ten or twenty or more times. Our brains tend to merge the many flashes into what we think is a single flash. Old movie/film cameras are a superb devices to capture the successive flashes.

Photo details: Samsung Maxima 90 GL camera, operating at maximum 90 mm lens length and 60 seconds time exposure; 200 speed Kodak Gold 35 mm film.