Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 24 Comments

Lightning over Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lightning over Las Vegas, Nevada.

This was an image from a crazy lightning storm last night over Las Vegas – the thunder from this strike came quick, and was loud!  The lightning was bright, it must have been close!

We almost never have lightning on the Alaska coast and because of this, I had never attempted to photograph it before.  So that is why this image is from our campground.  I thought I would experiment from camp to see what I got and wow, that is cool!  It sounds like there is a good chance for more tonight – if so, I will go to a little more interesting location, maybe somewhere on the Strip or out into the middle of the desert.

For this image I set my ISO at 10o, and then dialed in an aperture small enough to give me a 30 second exposure which ended up being f/11, and then stood there and hit the shutter every 30 seconds.  Of course it seemed like most of the good strikes happened between images, that is until this one.

I intend to share a few more photos from our jaunt to the Bay area here on the photo blog, but as you can see we are now in Las Vegas.  We will work on some projects here for the next week or so before moving East towards Arizona / Utah.

Comments 24

  1. I love lightning photography, very tricky to capture but you are right on one thing, it takes practice, and trial and error. Excellent! I have to ask, in the upper right corner, is that the moon behind the clouds?! Keep up the good work, and safe travels. Beautiful light here in Wasilla, and I’m heading out with my gear and scout around – David will be jealous, he’s at work! I’d do anything to get him to be out in nature doing what he loves most. 🙂

  2. Wow! I also love lightning photography(Florida is the lightning capital of the US), and this is spectacular. I always use a wide angle to ensure more coverage and a better chance of capturing a strike, but the downside is that the strikes look smaller. I’ve never gotten shots this close. This must have hit VERY close to you. What focal length did you use here?

  3. Hopefully you were inside the trailer shooting with a remote. Intense! I saw some strikes here in So Cal yesterday as well so it was probably the same storm system.

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    Thanks a lot everyone!

    @ Jena Good questions – that light is actually coming from the Luxor, a large pyramid shaped casino with a bright light on top shinning straight up. I think the best light in Alaska is during the winter – have fun scouting!

    @ Scott Thanks! I didn’t realize Florida received so much lightning until you mentioned it last summer. This was with a 24 mm on a full frame camera – I think it might have been close!

    @ Richard I was inside the trailer for most of the show, but was outside when this strike hit – I got right back in!


  5. oooh Uncle Ron scarry!!!! You shouldn’t be out there with all that metal equipment, your gonna get struck!! Thats just tooo much for me :[

  6. Great shot, Ron! How come it never storms like than when I’m staying at that RV campground? If you think there’s going to be another storm tonight, how about trying your luck below the massive new bridge that spans the Colorado Rive at Hoover Dam, just outside Boulder City? I saw it while it was under construction…what a work of art!!!

  7. Great shot! Just a bit of info you might find useful, you want a more open aperture for shots that are far away (f/4, 5.6, etc), that way they can absorb the light from a distance, as well as a bit of a higher ISO (400 to 800 usually works well). With closer shots, as you discovered, you want …well pretty much what you had! That way the lightning doesn’t blow out everything, so to speak.

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    Teresa , Kaylee – I will be careful.

    Thanks Julie – It is raining again tonight, but not too much lightning. I do intend on checking at the bridge – it opened to vehicle traffic late last night, and it is supposed to open to foot traffic sometime tomorrow – it is an amazing project.

    Thanks Mike, and thanks for the suggestions on the settings. I noticed when I stopped down I was losing the smaller strikes, and airplane lights, but I did like the 30 second exposures – bit of a trade off I guess. Thanks.

  9. I think I must be stalking you 😉

    Just leaving SFO tonight from a couple days in Carmel. Too bad weather iffy and too much work, but at least one evening @ Bixby Bridge for some time exposures.

    I’ll be in LV next week for company conference. You in town all week?

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  11. A beer would be great. Monday or Tuesday evening might work.

    Thinking of spots for sunrise pics on Tuesday morning. Wondering if the dam and new bridge might be a decent location.

  12. Great Photo! I have never be able to capture lightning before so this is awesome. The coloring of the photo really gives it a creepy feeling like before a tornado or a big storm that this one. Also, that bright light coming from the RV really catches my attention and helps me realize that there are people in those RVs right next to all that lightning.

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    Thanks Molly – that was really an amazing experience! I agree, the colors that night were a bit creepy!

    Hi John, I imagine you schedule it a bit up in the air given conference commitments etc., but those nights work for me – let me know which is best and where and I’ll be there.

    I haven’t been to the bridge for sunrise yet, but it is on my list – I think that is a good choice. To walk out on the bridge, you need to take the turn off that leads to the Dam – from there you will see a nice parking area.


  14. Awesome photo! Love the lightning and the way it lights up the scene. I also enjoy the scenery of where it was taken. Good use of aperture and shutter speed. I enjoy the way the entire scene is lit. Not just the lightening.

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    Thanks John – I have looked at those – if I lived at a place that received lightning, I would have one for sure, it would be a fun tool.

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    It is a device the will automaticlly trigger your camera the instant there is lighting – that way you don’t have to play the games I went through with long exposures and hoping!



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