Lightning is a humbling display of the raw, unharnessed power of Nature. Most of us are aware of its immensity and strength, as well as the brief but brilliant light it gives off when it strikes. However, even in that moment, which takes place in mere seconds, there is a hidden beauty in its wrath. That is exactly what is captured by photographer Craig Eccles.
The 42-year old Eccles from Perth, Western Australia uses his abundance of storm knowledge to predict the exact moment lightning will strike. “I have a saying – if you hear thunder you are too close,” said Eccles.
Eccles is so mesmerized by lightning that he will travel up to 300 miles in eagerness of chasing a major storm just to shoot it with his camera. “I have seen bolts stretch for miles across the sky,” he recently said.”But for me, it’s not all about the lightning bolt – sometimes it’s being in pitch black and in a split second, it appears as day….Every storm is a spectacle in itself and you never know where it is going to hit. For me it’s a rush. I love it and can’t get enough. Being caught in the moment and capturing it all to share is amazing.”
Lightning is actually an enormous electrostatic discharge between the electrically charged regions inside a cloud or between a cloud and the surface of the earth. The charged areas inside the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves using a lightning flash, frequently called a strike if it hits something on the ground.
Three essential types of lightning exist, namely; from a cloud to itself (intra-cloud or IC); from one cloud to another cloud (CC) and between a cloud and the ground (CG). While lightning is typically accompanied by thunder, far-away lightning may be seen but be too distant for the thunder to be discernible to human hearing. At any rate, it’s great to have guys like Eccles around so we don’t have to be in harm’s way to marvel at lightning’s spectacular fury.
See his awe-inspiring images here.