A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

by Hird Graeme

a thunderstorm approaching kalgoorlie western aust ilford hird graeme

Gallery: Single Photos

Tags: thunderstorm approaching kalgoorlie, western ilford fp4 kalgoorlie tachihara 4x5 wood field camera schneider xenar 150 f56 australia

Category: Uncategorized

Published: Tuesday 8th of October 2002 05:53:05 AM


Comments

Carlos Villanueva
Really great! I really like it, may be I would like to see the entire city lights in the foreground, but is ok.

Jeremy Somerville
Excellent! This is by far my favorite lightning shot I have ever seen, most excellent work!

Bobby Douglas
O WOW... Now That's Lightning I like the hill top blocking the bright lights of the city but still you can see just enough of it to be interesting. The detail in the clouds is excellent especially for a 10 minute exposure of a storm that was probably moving at 40 miles per hour. Good job getting the lightning across the whole frame with out over exposing any thing, Perfect! A+ I am so glad you captured this on 4x5 was there much croping?

Walter Strong
HOLY MOLY!! I've been looking at photos for almost 60 years and this is one of a small handfull of lightening pictures that I'd rate "outstanding". Its VERY dramatic and there's just no way I'd ever be able to pass it without taking another look.

Dicran Babayantz
Great. No other words to say... great!

Graeme Bell
This truly is excellent.

Tor Johnson
WOW! All I can say is Wow!

Fabrizio Giudici
One of the best lightning photos ever seen. It is not too busy for me, as lightnings are well balanced. B/W works perfectly enhancing the graphics in lightnings (I suppose a colour photo would have some distracting coloured details from the city lights).

Tor Guttormsen
Energy Amazing! Brilliantly captured, I love the hovering skyline. It's like some powerful contraction between the earth and sky creating a bombardment of energy.

Mark Lum
This is Great!

David Barstow
Superb! Although I'm not a fan of such long exposures for lightning shots this one makes it work. Still a little busy for my tastes, but the image quality is superb. Makes me want another 4x5, just not the film and processing costs. I plan to be in Darwin for next year's Monsoon Season, if there is one. Some of the best lightning photo-ops in the world. Wish I had been there with you.

Rob Rokwell
Very intense One of the most dramatic lightning scenes I've ever seen. Awesome clarity, perfect exposure.

M George
simply awesome, well done

Suzanne Berry
This is the most dramatic lightening shot I've ever seen! I ditto on all the WOWS above, but unlike some, I am glad I wasn't there!! AMAZING!

Maarten van Hoven
Aesthetics 7, Originality 7 Stunning

Dave Grabbe
Lightning Very Nice job. Would have liked to see one like it in color. 6/6

John Threttewey
Excellent!

Robert Goldstein
One of the all time great lightning skyscapes. I love the contrast created by the dark semi-circle in the foreground.

Carl Crosby
Aesthetics 6, Originality 6 SPECTACULAR, and the darkroom work is excellent!

J. Scott Schrader
Outstanding in every way. A perfectly exposed, composed, processed and printed image. It is absolutely stunning!

Michael Werneburg
I agree with Robert; the dark foreground (hill?) is an excellent counterpart to the lightning above. A great trick I'll have to keep in mind. Thanks for the example!

Graeme Hird
A Response to Questions Thank you all for the kind comments. The image was captured on 5x4 sheet film, and the full width of the film is used here. Obviously, I've cropped in the other dimmension to improve the composition (a technique I use frequently because I like to choose the ratio to suit the image. Cost is irrelevant). There were three images previous to this one made on the night. This was to be the last one in B&W before I switched to Velvia to get the impact(?) of colour. The storm had been reasonabley active for those 40 minutes as it approached, but when I put in the Velvia sheet, I was greeted with silence and darkness. I guess somebody else with a lot more influence likes B&W lightning photos too! In any case, using B&W film allowed me to adjust the contrast of the film during development, giving me more control over the finished image. Regards, Graeme Hird

Tony Dummett
Now that's a lightning shot. Terrific! The bolts look like some kind of malevolent jellyfish from Outer space.

Eugenio Demmenie
Wonderfull image and that is an understatement!! Must be even more stunning in real "print". Did you use a 6x12 roll back or 4x5 inch flat film? Regards, Eugenio

Jan Ohrstrom
Some storm, man!

Ben Goossens
Scoop. Excellent. I never have seen lihgtings like that.

Marielou Dhumez
AMAZING !

Ken Papai
Too Electrifying What a storm. This is too good. Bravo.

Michael Rodgers
Wow!

J. Harrington USA Massachusetts
Yours makes my lightning photo look rather simple.

Robert Tilden
Too bad you can use that to power the city. One of the best photos of this type!

Bill Kantor
Fabulous!

Michael Brown
10/10 As if you need me to say it, given all the superlatives above, but this is simply the best lighnigh shot I have ever seen. I don't know what the negative looks like, but this shot is perfectly balanced. I miss the Australian electical storms, they just don't happen here in England.

J.D. Reineke
Wow!

Jose Lacruz
Love it

Monika Brand
This is unbelievable!!A fantastic shot.

Benny Brand
good work

Alberto Pastorelli
Simply excellent !! I would like to be the photographer of this masterpiece.

jean-gil Martin
Kolossal Very nice......... Jen-Gil Martin

Shashank Malik
wonder how i really am surprised at the intensity .. i am amazed by lightening photos, they are so difficult to capture.. and getting so much lightening.. u got lucky :)

Landrum Kelly
Ten minutes at f8. That's all I wanted to know. I want to try this. This is the one I would have given PoW to, if the choice were mine to make, although I like the one that got it as well.

Jenny Bach
Absolutely Amazing!!! Storms intrigue me anyway but this shot is spectacular.

harry rosenblum
Stunning the most elegant lighting photo I have ever seen!!

Terry Butler
The best The best lightning photo I've ever seen.

nuno milheiro
AMAZING!! Simply an amazing shot!!!great image quality in one word:SUPERB!!!!!

Erin Boyd
Pic of the year. Awesome capture. I like Tony Dummetts vision of this as some malignant Intergalactic Jellyfish calling for a visit.

Ann Dream
comment gorgeous and creative work! ..

Carlos Carvalho
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) As noted this pic is not too original but it remains amazing. Good work.

Manel Soria
Tachihara 4x5 wood field camera ? The photo is amazing and it has been a good choice. Thanks ! I would really like to know what is a "Tachihara 4x5 wood field camera", could you please submit a link to a place where this is described ?

Fabian Graham
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) totally awesome photo....wish I had been there to experience the raw power of nature. Brave to do it in black and white.....7/7

Ed Truitt
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Wow... everytime I feel either (1) that I can hold my own with the best of them, or (2) there is nothing else to strive for, I see an image like this, which reminds me just how much more I have to learn and experience. Can this image be improved? I truly don't know... but I do know that anything I did to it would probably detract from it. As I continue to look at it, I see so many new things. When I woke up this morning, I was feeling down, for a number of reasons. Having seen this, I actually feel refreshed and ready to go. Of course, this also means I am agonizing: large format, or Canon EOS-20D? Decisions, decisions... Thanks for sharing this with us.

Marc G.
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Spectacular picture, no doubt. I'm not too enthusiastic about the fairly huge black foreground and would have prefered a slightly more topish view on the city, and less black, but I'm unsure whether the circumstances would allow something like that... Anyway, a very good catch for sure... Regards.

Hulki Okan Tabak
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) First of all, it is a great image -- charged, vibrant, extensive.. I think the exposure is right for the lightning and the sky. However it was naturally overdone for the ground lights. While they would be nice dimmer, I think that is out of question and does not take away anything significant. I like the wide approach and the crop of the sheetfilm was done very nicely. The only improvement I can think of is to get the black part in the bottom out of the way. Removing it at this point would hurt the photo's integrity by cropping the left and right portions of the cityscape. So if the photographer could have taken an alternative shot by moving forward a bit - that could have been an improvement to an already beautiful shot.

Alexander Chubb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Im amazed at this amazing pow because it is amazing with the lightning coming from the clouds in the sky. There have been other lightning picutres in the POW before this one today so I guess the elves like lightning pictures. I cant think of a better picture for the pow except maybe a skull. Have any skulls ever been pow? maybe its time.

Matt Pearson
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) I think I'm like a few others who have responded in that, initially, I didn't like the dark foreground-- but the more i looked at it and tried to mentally crop or reframe the shot, I realize that the curve gives a profound sense of scale. I think that the smoothness and bredth of the cruve allude the curvature of the earth seen in photographs taken from low orbit or from the cockpit of an SR-71. Removiing it would mentally, if not literally, limit the percieved scope... I hate to call it an illusion, but I do think it's a mind trick that works very well. Love this shot.

Marshall Stephenson
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Bravo! Patience and vision have come together for a masterpiece. Thank you for sharing.

Michael Eldredge
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Just beautiful. I love lightning pictures, and this panarama is a brilliant example of one. Thanks for sharing!

Michael Seewald
black base is important The black base is important. It adds the contrast that makes it so dramatic. A city-scaped base would have weakened it by making all of the tones too similar. Top should be cropped a dash to keep the eye in, which would also get the place where the strikes emanate from more in the top thirds. The final place the eye goes out is up there (escapes), and that would keep it in quite a bit longer. May show the crop later. Great photo, congrats. MS

Michael Seewald
well Well, cropping a dash off the top would no so much move it into the thirds, as it's just below it or in it now, but it would make it much more balanced. That's very important.

Carlos Carvalho
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Like Dave Barstow I'm not a fan of long exposures but this shot is different from others. In my opinion is the crop work that makes this picture a very good picture.

A.K. Sircar
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Superb image by all standard.As suggested above, slight cropping from top and bottom, may be tried to better the image.

Dave Nitsche
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) This image is amazing. I might add a little negative space on top to give it a natural framing and contain the whole. I agree with Michael above that the black foreground is really, really needed here. I am blown away, this is just great. Bravo.

Chad Gard
long exposure lightning Like others, I'm not a fan of extremely long lightning exposures. Imagine the level of detail that could be had using large format film to capture a single lightning strike! That would be more interesting to me. Framing a single strike against the interesting structure (crane?) on the right, for example, could provide a nice balanced composition, very detailed branching in the strike, and a nice contrast between the very structured and geometric shapes of the man-made object and the more random shapes of the lightning strike. I also think the foreground hill takes up a little too much of the frame and is a bit too symmetrical, given its dome shape. Since we have the advantage of an overlook of the city (a rare opportunity for lightning photography, at least in areas I'm usually at), it'd be great to take more advantage of it, and move closer to the crest of the hill. some is surely needed to "ground" the photo (not in the electrical sense ;) ), but as is it seems a bit much. But all of that makes it sound as if I didn't enjoy the photo. To the contrary, it's excellent. And, given the cost of glass, film, and processing for large format, combined with the high failure rate of lightning with longer lenses and shorter exposures (to isolate a single strike in frame), I don't know that I'd be willing to take the risk of the approach I prescribe. At any rate, it's really great to see a lightning photo make photo of the week!

Greg S
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) "could it have been improved?" Not likely. It's pretty much perfect... beautiful, dramatic, and well composed. A+

David Goldfarb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) I don't know, Graeme, standing out on a hill during a lightning storm--I hope you were using a Berlebach or a Ries. photo.net could be liable for encouraging this kind of behavior. Don't try this at home, boys and girls. Graeme is a professional.

Dougity B
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Pretty impressive. Actually, it's very impressive, but it doesn't give us much to talk about. Less foreground black would work for me, too.

Carl Root
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Given the format, I think we can assume that Graeme has plenty of extra room to work with top and bottom and that he took great care in deciding what to get rid of. The exit points from the clouds are - what shall we say - really cool.

Graeme Hird
I'm honoured! Thankyou to the Elves for once again selecting one of my shots as photo of the week - it's a real honour to be awarded PoW for this shot. There seems to be a lot of discussion about the hill in the foreground. To me, it's a very important part of the image, since it forms the anchor for the whole scene. Without it, the image is top-heavy and unbalanced. Perhaps I could have cropped a little off the bottom of it, but that was my choice at the time of cropping and I stand by that. I think it has the correct "weight" to balance out the fury of the lightning behind it. There have been a few mentions of "moving closer to the crest" of the foreground hill: that can't be done. This shot was made from the top of one hill overlooking the foreground hill - moving closer puts me into the valley and the city lights won't be visible. It is also impossible to shoot from that hill itself, since it is private property and fenced off by the mining company that owns it. They will not give permission to drive to the top of it because it is being rehabilitated. David, no, my tripod is metal. If the storm were close enough that I might be in danger, I'd get back in my car and drive away. No shot is worth dying for - even one that might eventually win PoW! The Elves asked "Could it have been improved?". As some of you know, I own my own gallery where the general public can buy my work. When presented with a choice between this shot or the toned version of it, 99% select the colour version. So, in the eyes of the public, this shot can be improved by adding colour to the scene. I know that irks many photographers (such as you reading this now) but money talks. Incidentally, I also prefer the colour version myself - it's like the Gates of Hell have opened and an army of demons is marching on the town. Cheers,

Laura E. Napolitano
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) I know one thing for sure -- this can't be improved, because nature can't be improved. Well, except with plastic surgery, but that's another story :-) I like the lightness of the sky and how the lightning is off-balance. If it were evenly balanced, it would not work for me. I am curious though...what elevation was this shot taken at?

John Robinette
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Excellet image. I like the darker of the two better. The "background" of the sky isn't as bright and the lights of the city aren't as bright. In the brighter image those elements distract (slightly). But who am I to criticize - it's a great shot! Congratulations.

Graeme Hird
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Laura asked: I am curious though...what elevation was this shot taken at?
Kalgoorlie's elevation is about 400m above sea level and is 400km from the nearest ocean. The landscape is an old one with very little local relief. The hill I'm standing on for this shot is about 50m higher than the surrounding area and the distant horizon in this shot is about 30km away.

Cheers,
Graeme

John Williams
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Most of us love images of storms or lightning, there is just something about them that forces you to look at them in awe most of the time, this image surpassess all others I have seen. It had to be an amazing time watching this storm unfold right before your eyes. Wonderful work, one I would love to have hanging on my own walls.

e e
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Amazing capture. I love the vantage point, the wide open terrain and the bolts of lightning dancing on the horizon. I'm not sure if this is a possibility for in exposure correction, but maybe tone down the brightness of the lights of the boats to accentuate the lightning a bit more.

peter roberts
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Don't like the dark foreground! I just imagine when Graeme drove his car when the strom was approaching at night. He needed to find a position to set up his camera. As I also use 4x5 camera, I know the time of setting up in darkness. We are not the one who works in a studio and makes composition slowly to get a perfect one. In this photo, time is the key. As Graeme mentioned, when he tried to load Velvia, the strom just passed. When shooting photos of this sort, we are at total mercy of the weather.

Akshaya Amit Bhosle
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) this is totally awesome.. amazing.. the bolts came out perfect.. and i find the bright spots of the city lights totally cool.. congrats.. and thx for sharing..

Matthew Cranford
Alterations This looks digitally altered? It seems that many of the photos on this sight are digitally altered. That's too bad. Though it is a nice image.

Graeme Hird
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Digitally altered? Well, it has been cropped and had the contrast adjusted, then it was resized and sharpened to post here. So yes, there has been digital work done on it, but a straight scan of the neg would show the same elements of composition as you see here. If you search through my portfolio, you'll see the colour version of this image - it has had colour added and I would definitely call that digitally altered. Peter, no I wasn't searching for a spot to shoot from just before the storm arrived. I have several spots already scouted and go to the most appropriate one for the storm. I use this particular hill quite often. But thanks for the words of support. Cheers, Graeme

Marco Silveri
Damned!! I tried for years and years to get a good shot of this type... And this photo is so damned good.... Definitely I got a lot of things to learn and a lot of work to do... Probably the POTW I liked more since I come in this website...

Landrum Kelly
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) The earth needed a jump to get its motor running, and God was happy to oblige. Graeme, I noted this one when it was first posted--the best lightning shot that I have ever seen. Congratulations on PoW.

Landrum Kelly
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) "this pic is not too original" "I don't like the dark foreground." Are we talking about the same picture? Graeme, you could have gotten fried in the time it took you to set this up with a 4x5! The dark foreground is essential in my opinion, and I'd sure like to see a more original lightning shot if anyone has one.

Alexander Chubb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) i got emailed that a elf deletd my coments so I have made my examples of my ideas to be considerd. the first idea is a lake to take the place of the black hill and the second idea is a skull to take the place of the black hill. most poeple will not like the skull idea but thta's ok. I understand that skulls are frightning. but skulls and lightning are twice the fright! Here is the first idea

Alexander Chubb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) here is the next idea that most people wont like but maybe some of them will.

Graeme Hird
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) I don't get it Alexander. Why?

Ri┬ęk Vincent
Skull Maybe a good idea if this site was DigitalAlterations.net. I prefer the photo in its raw form.

Sergio Angulo
UNVELIEVABLE Truly spectacular. Il like the original shot, i can not even imagine the gorgeous enlargement!

Alexander Chubb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) why is because some one didnt like the black hill so I thought of a trick to make it better. I guess no one likes my ideas. Im not having a good day today. I am out of the grove.

Graeme Hird
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Oh, my apologies Alexander.

Don't worry if someone else doesn't like the dark hill at the bottom - they're free to critique the shot however they see fit. I listen to what others think, but usually don't change my shot unless the suggestion is valid in my opinion. And then I only change the shot as one would in the darkroom - digital trickery is not for me.

Sometimes it's best to have the conviction of your own opinion and not be swayed by the vision of others.

Cheers,
Graeme

Alexander Chubb
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) You are right and that is good advise. Sometimes I wish I was the photographer Jeffrey Ulesman but othert imes I am glad to be myself only I wish I could make better photos and be in the POW.

David Chananie
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) The picture gives a strong sense of the city getting hammered. Imagine being there while getting hit by thirteen lightning bolts at once.

Landrum Kelly
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) David, this was a ten-minute exposure, and the actual strikes appear to be hitting the surface beyond the urbanized area at the time of this photo.

Jonathan Farmer
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) This sort of photography is precious and can only be recorded properly with the type of equipment the artist has used. Yes digital is great but for me you can't beat the feeling you get after lugging around heavey equipment and really taking your time to creat a true master piece both in the field and dark room.

julie holland
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) wow, I was in Kalgoolie late last year for the first time and can imagine just how this storm was, we get the occasional lightning storms down here in Albany west Australia but Ive never seen anything like this. Regards julie

Andreina Pierini
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) De pana que es la mejor foto que he visto....It?s great...I like that...It?s alsom..I can beliave that anybody can take this kind of picture... CONGRTULATIONS!!

Nana Sousa Dias
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Great image!

saska brim
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Awesome!

tommi b
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) wow, this one is just amazing... wonderful..

vincent martin
heres an idea i hope no one already mentioned Use a split ND filter upside down for the horizon and lower to keep the ground lights crisp. If those werent washed out this would be spectacular. Or take another shot for the sake of getting crisp ground lights and interlace seemlessly in photoshop which would make it easier. i am not familiar with ND filters that much but that may not even work unless it was a ton of stops given the exposure time. and thoughts on this?

H. von Bortzell-Szuch
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Must have looked some like this when life was created.

Nick walton
Response to A thunderstorm approaching Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Graeme Hird (www.graemehird.com) Simply the best storm picture I have seen (Well, I prefer the toned version on Graeme's web site)

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