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Diane Rains
Hudson, WI, USA
02:32 am

Equipment Details:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

Post-processing Details:

I greatly increased saturation of colors to further develop faint hues seen in the original photo. No additional color added.

Image Details:

Last night spectacular lightning displays dramatically illuminated our sky as thunderstorms slowly moved through. Some of my unretouched photos of the lightning-excited sky revealed subtle tinges of color. One even had a very visible green streak!

Curious about lightning and color, in post-processing I cranked up the color saturation of my photos. (But no color was added by me.) A stunning dream world of colorful storm and lightning emerged in these images!

Did the colors really exist in this storm, invisible to the human eye? Or did my camera just go bonkers?

Lightning bolts generate an electrical current of immense magnitude - tens of thousands of amps. Air and water vapor around the bolt can be heated to a temperature hotter than the sun! When this happens, molecules of nitrogen, hydrogen, and other gases in the surrounding clouds are excited. Air molecules are dissociated into atoms and ionized to a plasma that, like neon lights and the aurora, can glow with any rainbow color in the spectrum. We just can't perceive it.

So perhaps a colorful hidden realm really is lightning's excruciatingly lovely gift!