It’s difficult to get a good picture of violent weather, partly because the wind whipping and doom-like clouds tend to give the impression that world as we know it is about to end, and one doesn’t necessarily think first of framing a nice photo:  usually seeking shelter is a little more important. I took the shot above last fall of a violent, quick thunderstorm that rolled into Northwest Ohio, bringing some havoc, high winds, and a great weather watching opportunity.

Last evening we had some classic summer-like thunderstorms roll through our little corner of Ohio:  waves of black walls of violence and light, hard rain and merciless hail. A tornado watch added to the mystique (gratefullly with none appearing), as did the warning of large hail and 70+ mph damaging winds. It appears this morning, however, that all we got was really wet with a good shaking of trees and anything else people forgot to tie down.

I’ve always enjoyed watching violent weather, a practice that sits on the edge of insanity at times, but is often rewarding in terms of witnessing the shock and awe that Mother Nature can provide. One memorable moment was riding in a car with my brother along a barren stretch of highway in Big Bend National Park while watching an advancing black-wall storm. As we drove and watched, a lightning bolt darted quickly down, not 300 yards from us, splitting a tree and car-sized boulder in half on a ridge just off the road. Amazing. Another time I was driving along a West Texas highway outside Valentine, Texas in far West Texas, watching a lightning-spitting, black wall of weather advancing across an open range, the black clouds contrasting nicely with the yellow range grass. That spectacular show proved to be expensive, however, as I was distractedly exceeding the speed limit by a good 15 mph. The local Sheriff, who was following me for miles before I noticed him, was unfortunately more interested in writing me a ticket than similarly enjoying Mother Nature’s matinee.

Who needs techology and special effects? Give me a good summer thunderstorm anytime for one of the best light and dazzle shows around…all from the inside safety of my house, of course.