Storm Clouds Over New Jersey

Storm Clouds Over New Jersey

Well folks in the Midwest will laugh at this silly little rain shower, but this is a rare site in New Jersey.  I took these on June 7, 2012 at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge near Atlantic City New Jersey while trying to take some pictures of shore birds.  The on-line weather report denoted that rain would not arrive until well after dark and would be partly sunny until then.  Oh well.

As the storm came in, folks were high-tailing it outta there but I was chatting it up with a few die hard birder brains sharing stories of rare bird sightings.  We were determined to top one another with a better story so we weren’t moving.  Glad we didn’t.  When we finally stopped talking at each other, we turned around and saw this tempest heading directly toward us complete with lightning.  Being the tallest things around for a few square miles, what did we do?  Pulled out our cameras and started shooting.

Whaaa?!! Is that a funnel cloud forming!?!

What I Did Right and What I Did Wrong

I try to bring along a variety of equipment when I head out to these wonderful places and for Forsythe, I usually just mount my killer Canon 500mm monster lens, but I also threw into my bag the extremely versatile Canon 24-105 L f/4.0 S lens.  Glad I did.  You need a wide angle to grab such a big scene and that 500mm would have just grabbed mist and rain.

I mounted the lens, and spun my control wheel on my Canon 5D MKII to C3 where I have my standard settings stored (click here for my standard settings for beginners).  Av for aperture priority, ISO 400 for a bit of extra speed, and a versatile f/5.6 aperture are the basic settings.

I could have improved the pictures beyond what I have here by doing a few things: 1) Drop the ISO down to 200 for better quality, and 2) stop the aperture down a few clicks to improve sharpness.  You can do these two things when your camera is calculating fast shutter speeds as I was getting.

I also try to keep the rule of thirds in mind at all times when I shoot.  While I didn’t follow it to the letter, keeping it in mind helped the composition.

Post Processing Notes

This 24-105 has quite a bit of distortion when you shoot it wide as I did.  Distortion is when the picture is bent like looking at an image reflected on a shiny globe.  The lens correction tool in LightRoom 4 is just fantastic and one click straightened out this bent mess.

The Equipment:

  • Canon 5D Mk II
  • Canon 24-105 L f/4.0 IS
  • Desire to get wet

Location Types: Jersey Shore and Nature Reserve. Galleries: Nature. Tags: 24-105 f/4.0 and 5D Mk II.

One Response to “Storm Clouds Over New Jersey”

  1. Rich June 9, 2012 8:04 am #

    Great photos and nice tips too! That storm approaching this area was really rare. I almost stopped myself to catch some photos when driving home from work, but only had my Samsung 5 megapixel smart phone to capture the scene with… I should have done it.

    Anyway, great blog……… I’ll bookmark it for further tips on photography which is one of my hobbies!

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