A Montana Style Thunderstorm

July 12th, 2011 by John Batdorff
Madison Mountain Range Lightening Storm BW

Madison Mountain Range Lightening Storm BW Version


The one thing you can always be guaranteed when you’re living in the mountains is amazing thunderstorms. We’ve lost power for nearly half a day, my wireless router was fried by lightning, and at one point in time during a huge and very close lightning storm I was instructed we were going to downstairs to sleep. I guess there was a pretty rational fear of a tree dropping on the cabin (seeing as how one crunched my car last year). Yep, we’ve had some excitement in these here hills!

I did manage to take advantage of all this weather and get a fun shot of a lightning storm taking place on the Madison Mountain Range. The storm rolled in around 10 p.m. and created a light show that would have put Pink Floyd to shame. I don’t own a lightning trigger, but I decided to have some fun with some long exposures anyway. Using my tripod, cable release, and 24-70mm lens, I took several exposures but finally settled in f/6.3 at 93 secs.

This is the raw file from the camera:

Madison Mountain Range Original File


Orginal RAW File


I decided to export the image into Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 (SEP2) to convert to B&W and do a little clean up on this image. I didn’t really need to tweak too much, but used several Control Points to increase Contrast, Amplify Whites, and a little Structure.

Finally, just to have a little fun, I took the SEP2 converted image and applied the Color Creative – Yesteryear 2 preset. Sure it looks a little cheesy, but it was fun to do and it does make that storm look angry!

Madison Mountain Range Lightening Storm Red

Madison Mountain Range Lightening Storm Red Version


So tell me which one you like… Black and White or Color?


Take your black and white photos From Snapshots to Great Shots!



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