San Francisco residents were treated with a dazzling sight yesterday: a double rainbow all the way across the sky, visible from many parts of the city. The San Francisco Chronicle writes,
The mist mixed with golden light from the low-slung sun to cast a beautiful pink glaze across downtown skyscrapers. Thousands at the Giants baseball game took their eyes away from the game to gawk at a double rainbow that formed over center field, perfectly framed by the grandstands. “There was just some very light rain at the game, but it was amazing to see so many people bringing out their iPhones and taking a picture of it,” said Mike Pechner, a forecaster with Golden West Meteorology who was at the game. Dozens of motorists pulled their cars to the side of the road to gawk and take pictures of the rare double-rainbow, created when the light refracted through the moisture in the air.
Photographer Camille Seaman is well-known for her images of icebergs, but recently she turned her attention to another state of water: supercell storm clouds. She has been partnering with storm chasers and shooting amazing images of violent weather passing through the American Midwest. The series is titled The Big Cloud. Read more…
Caleb and Candra Pence had a couple unexpected guests crash their wedding in Kansas last Saturday: tornadoes! The two twisters touched down roughly 10 miles away during the ceremony but — luckily for everyone involved — were not moving. Wedding photographer Cate Eighmey took advantage of the rare situation by having the newlyweds pose with the twisters in the background. The resulting photographs have taken the Internet by storm (haha, get it?), and the Pences have spent their honeymoon in Wyoming handling calls from the media. Read more…
Did you know that your morning cup of coffee can help you predict rain? It’s a trick used by backpackers that can come in handy you’re shooting outdoors without Internet: pour a cup of coffee and carefully watch the bubbles. Backpacker Magazine writes,
If the bubbles amass in the center, you’re in a high-pressure system, which is making the coffee’s surface convex (higher in the middle). Since bubbles are mostly air, they migrate to the highest point. It’s going to be a beautiful day. If the bubbles form a ring around the sides of the mug, you’re in a low-pressure system, making the surface concave. Rain is likely. Note: It has to be strong, brewed coffee to have enough oil to work, and the mug must have straight sides.
To make new bubbles, simply give your coffee a good stir.
Fine art photographer Mitch Dobrowner wanted to photograph storm systems, so he partnered up with Roger Hill — regarded as one of the top storm-chasers in the world — and was introduced to Tornado Alley. Dobrowner writes,
Words are inadequate to describe the experience of photographing this immense power and beauty. And the most exciting part is with each trip I really don’t know what to expect. But now I see these storms as living, breathing things. They are born when the conditions are right, they gain strength as they grow, they fight against their environment to stay alive, they change form as they age… and eventually they die. They take on so many different aspects, personalities and faces; I’m in awe watching them. These storms are amazing sights to witness…. and I’m just happy to be there—shot or no shot; it’s watching Mother Nature at her finest. My only hope my images can do justice to these amazing phenomenona of nature.
His images certainly do them justice — the stormy landscape photographs Dobrowner has made through these trips are jaw-dropping. Read more…
Seeing a double rainbow is a relatively rare treat, but how about three or four rainbows? Scientists have only reported seeing triple rainbows five times over the past 250 years, but German photographer Michael Theusner was recently able to capture this first ever photograph of a fourth-order rainbow. Ordinary rainbows (first and second order) appear in the area of the sky opposite the sun (and aren’t seen in his shot), but when higher order rainbows appear, they show up on the sunward side.
Last year, U.S. Naval Academy meteorologist Raymond Lee and a colleague, Philip Laven, laid out a prediction for the conditions that would produce third-order rainbows, and they challenged rainbow-chasers to go out and find one. Among the requirements: dark thunderclouds, and either a heavy downpour or a rainstorm with nearly uniform rain droplets. If the sun broke through the clouds under these conditions, it could project a dim tertiary rainbow against the dark clouds nearby, they said. [#]
Back in May, a photographer named Michael Grossman followed this advice and succeeded in capturing the first ever photo of a third-order rainbow. Lee’s challenge and Grossman’s success are what inspired Theusner to try his hand at photographing higher order rainbows. You can find more background info on Theusner’s blog and in his recently published scientific paper.
Why settle for one boring lightning bolt when you can show 70+ bolts in the same photograph? Photographer Chris Kotsiopoulos of GreekSky recently shot a severe thunderstorm from Ikaria Island in Greece using a Canon 550D and 50mm 1.8 Mark II. He stacked 70 separate 20-second exposures to create the crazy image you see above.
William Phuoc and a few other storm chasers were shooting a thunderstorm in the Australian grasslands when a huge bolt of lightning struck the ground about 200 meters away. Luckily, they captured the strike on video and Phuoc’s Canon EOS-1D Mark IV (using a 14mm lens and lightning trigger) was able to capture an amazing photograph of the strike.
The winter hasn’t been friendly this year to certain areas of the US, with flash floods hitting Southern California and blizzards tormenting the East Coast. Vimeo user Michael Black decided to document a blizzard by setting up a Canon DSLR with a remote timer, snapping a photograph every five minutes. He combined the resulting photographs into a time-lapse video that shows 20 hours of intense snowfall in 40 seconds. Boy does that snow get high.
Chris Kotsiopoulos of GreekSky made this crazy lightning photograph by stacking a large number of separate shots. He tells us,
It was past midnight when I heard from my home at Halandri, Athens an unusual rate of thunders (one every 7-8 seconds!) coming from the Olympic Stadium area 2-3 kilometers away from my home.
Without second thought, I grabbed the camera and the tripod drove quickly to the spot. I set the camera under a tent and I started taking continuous shots. I used an intervalometer so I didn’t have to be behind the camera all the time. I even took a chance by placing my self in the field of view in one of the shots. Fifteen minutes later, it started to rain and the storm was approaching, so I found shelter under the bridge at the right. Finally after 32 minutes, among the hundreds of shots taken, I captured 51 lighting strikes (9 shots where destroyed because of the excess brightness). The photo processing was fairly simple. I stacked the 42 lighting shots with Startrails software, and did some minor improvements with Photoshop.
We’re glad he took the risk of standing in his photo — it’s not often you see one of these shots with people in them. If you want to learn more about how to create this kind of photo yourself, check out this lightning shooting tutorial we posted a while back.