Rage Over Badlands National Park

September 28, 2017

Rage 082617 (2)

Photographer: Steve Cullen 
Summary Author: Steve Cullen  

This panoramic photograph shows distant thunderstorms over central South Dakota as observed from Badlands National Park. These intense storms rumbled for hours over the Great Plains.

To give some context, the storm stretches from Pierre, South Dakota to Rosebud, South Dakota, a distance of about 80 mi (128 km). The cloud tops at the right (south) side of the storm are approximately 50,000 feet (15,240 m) in height. The weather service rated the lightning in this storm at extreme levels for the entire three-plus hours that I watched it -- lightning flashes were non-stop. Later, in the early morning hours, as the storm continued to head southeast, it drove stunning mesospheric gravity waves and numerous transient luminous events in the form of red sprites. Photo taken on August 26, 2017, as I returned from photographing the total solar eclipse on the 21st.

Photo Details: 4-panel panorama; Nikon D810a camera; Nikon 70-200 mm lens, 70 mm; ISO 3200;  f/2.8; 15-seconds per image exposure. Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Macintosh).