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GOD'S LIGHTNING SHOW

SMOKEYDOGSOCKS

VACAVILLE, CALIFORNIA, United States

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FEATURED ON JUNE 30, 2011

MAY 12, 1988: ON TOP OF MOUNT VACA LOOKING OVER THE TOWN OF VACAVILLE CALIFORNIA AND THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY TOWARDS RIO VISTA IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I WAS SITTING IN THE DRIVERS SEAT OF MY 1969 MERCURY MARQUIE, WITH MY CAMERA SITTING ON THE TRIOPOD JUST OUTSIDE MY DRIVERS DOOR. WITH A FRIEND OF MINE,,,,WHO JUST HAPPENED TO BE BLIND,,,FROM A MOTOR CYCLE WRECK SOME YEARS EARLIER. THAT CORILATION WILL COME INTO PLAY FURTHER ON INTO THE STORY BEHIND THIS SHOT. THE LIGHTNING STORM STARTED IN THE SIERRAS, THAT ARE EAST OF ME AND TRAVELED WEST, ACROSS THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY ALL THE WAY AROUND THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS, WHICH ONE PART OF,, IS WHERE WE WERE SITTING TAKING THE SHOTS,,,, TO THE NAPA VALLEY. ABOUT 20 SECONDS AFTER LEAVING MY PARKING SPOT, WHERE I TOOK THIS PHOTO FROM, DAYLIGHT HAPPENED. THE LIGHTNING STRIKE WAS SO INTENSE, THAT MY FRIEND WHO WAS WITH ME AND LIKE I MENTIONED EARLIER,, JUST HAPPENED TO BE BLIND. HE SAID THAT HE WAS ABLE TO SEE SOME OF THE LIGHT IN WHAT LITTLE VISSION HE HAD. AND BELIEVE ME, HE COULDN’T SEE THAT MUCH,,,BASICALLY JUST LIGHT COMING INTO THE PART OF WHAT WOULD BE OUR NORMAL VISSION KNOWN AS PERIFFERAL VISSION. LIGHTNING STRIKES LIKE THESE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO BE OVER 10,000 DEGREES IN TEMPERATURE AT THE CORE OF THE STRIKE, WHICH MIGHT ONLY BE ONE INCH IN DIAMETER. AS THIS STORM PROGRESSED CLOSER TOWARS US, WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE BEST TO REMAIN INSIDE THE CAR. IF THE CAMERA TOOK A SHOT, OH WELL. AT LEAST INSIDE THE CAR WE WERE PROTECTED. THIS SHOT WAS A MULTIPLE EXPOSURE SHOT OF 4 EXPOSURES OF 20 SECONDS EACH. THE CAMERA WAS A CANON EOS 620 WITH THE SHUTTER SET ON THE B SETTING AND I WAS USING A CABLE RELEASE THAT WAS LONG ENOUGH TO PUT THROUGH MY DRIVERS WINDOW,,,, AND TO PREVENT SHAKING THE CAMERA AS IT SAT ON THE TRIPOD. I WAS USING A 100-300MM CANON LENS, WITH THE F STOP SET AT F:22, SO I WOULDN’T OVER EXPOSE THE CITY LIGHTS,,, AND THE FOCAL LENGTH WAS SET AT 100MM. TO GIVE THIS IMAGE SOME SORT OF SCALE, LOOK AT THE TWO RED LIGHT TOWERS THAT ARE JUST TO RIGHT OF CENTER. THE SHORT ONE IS 1,600 FEET TALL AND THE TALLEST ONE IS 2,000 FEET TALL. I WAS ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN THAT IS 2,800 FEET IN ALTITUDE, KNOWN AS MOUNT VACA,,,,TO USE LOCALS. HOWEVER, IF YOU TYPE IN “MOUNT VACA”, CALIFORNIA,, IN THE GOOGLE EARTH PROGRAM, IT SHOWS YOU THAT MOUNTAIN. THOSE TWO TOWERS ARE APPROXIMATELY 25 MILES AWAY, AS THE CROW FLIES,,,, FROM WHERE I WAS SITTING. IT WASN’T LONG AFTER WE LEFT OUR PARKING SPOT THAT THE WATER CAME ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE STORM. WHEN MOUNT VACA GETS WET, THE CALIFORNIA CLAY TURNS INTO CALIFORNIA SNOT AND I DIDN’T HAVE 4 WHEEL DRIVE. SO THAT WAS THE END OF OUR VENTURE ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN. AS WE DROVE DOWN AND GOT BACK ON THE BLACKTOP, THE RAIN GOT MORE INTENSE. I’M GLAD WE DIDN’T STICK AROUND THE TOP ANY LONGER THAN WE DID.

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