A Cornucopia of Everglades Lightning

Lightning over Florida Bay - Everglades National Park, Florida
Lightning over Florida Bay - Everglades National Park, Florida

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As this thunderstorm moved south over Florida Bay, aglow with warm sunset light, I caught the lightning bolt I was after.

I had picked up this storm three hours earlier near Sweet Bay Pond, and followed as it drifted south over the cypress hammocks of Everglades National Park.

Thunderstorm over cypress dome in Everglades National Park
Thunderstorm over cypress dome in Everglades National Park

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The storm strengthened, and began throwing lightning bolts as it moved east of Nine Mile Pond.

Lightning over Nine Mile Pond - Everglades National Park, Florida
Lightning over Nine Mile Pond - Everglades National Park, Florida

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Half an hour before sunset, it moved out over Florida Bay, heading south towards Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I photographed it until after dark, then headed back towards Homestead on the main park road. Off to the east, a new storm was growing.

Lightning and park road - Everglades National Park, Florida
Lightning and park road - Everglades National Park, Florida

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Deep in Florida's summer, the storms are alive 24/7.

Triggered by lightning

The lightning photos on this page, and many more scattered throughout this web site, were taken with the help of a lightning detector. There are several brands on the market; I use the Lightning Trigger (www.lightningtrigger.com), manufactured by Stepping Stone Products.

This device is quite simple: it detects the flash of a lightning bolt, and quickly triggers an attached camera's shutter. Lighting may look instantaneous to us, but bolts are actually composed of a sequence of strokes that can last as long as a few hundred milliseconds. A good-quality SLR camera can open its shutter in a few tens of milliseconds, so it is quite possible to capture photos of these bolts.

Crows in the palm

The palm that appears in the topmost photo was alive with crows feasting on the tree's fruit. The camera with the lightning trigger was busy doing its thing, and didn't need much attention from me, so I used a second camera to try capturing the crow's frenzied behavior. I'm quite happy with how the following photo turned out.

Crows and storm clouds - Everglades National Park, Florida
Crows and storm clouds - Everglades National Park, Florida

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