Time-lapsing Thunderstorms

The power and beauty of thunderstorms can be awe-inspiring yet terrifying at the same moment.  As we have all been spending a lot more time surrounded by nature lately, it’s worth taking in its powers and looking at some magnificent storms captured on time-lapse.

As with all weather formations, time-lapse makes the movements of swirling cumulonimbus clouds and lightning of electrical storms even more intense and spectacular. 

Time-lapsing thunderstorms
Lightning storm across the sea

Every type of thunderstorm – single-cell, multi-cell, squall line or super-cell — can be captured effectively through time-lapse. However, the most impressive and dangerous kind of thunderstorm – the supercell – also unsurprisingly makes the most dramatic time-lapse sequences with its rotations, cyclones and strong winds.

The best footage of such severe thunderstorms comes from seasoned and dedicated storm chasers, shot on the vast open plains and deserts of America. Mike Olbinski proves that a lot of patience, skill and time can produce compelling time-lapse footage of strong storms. Having taken over 90,000 time-lapse frames, he created “The Pursuit”, a 7-minute long storm time-lapse film, which manages to grip the viewer throughout by combining stirring music with unrestrained weather formations includes stunning night-time lightning, a tornado birth and supercell structures.

Another expert, Pecos Hank also captures the power of Mother Nature through numerous time-lapse sequences, including “Supercell Storm Time-Lapse  – Tornado and Lightning”. In this short video, he documents & edits together fantastic supercell structures, mesocyclones, storm updrafts, and dramatic lightning from just one storm season.

Both these filmmakers cleverly emphasise the huge scale of the storms by juxtaposing with insignificantly sized human habitats, artificial lights and buildings.  

The beauty of storms is so great, that even less refined time-lapse sequences can create captivating results. “Lightning Rainbow Time Lapse in Ridgecrest” by Edward Czajka captures monsoon-induced thunderstorms, with the amazing sight as the sun comes up of a double rainbow alongside the lightning.  

Other effective videos can also just focus on one extraordinary event, such as a rainstorm downburst or microburst as featured in Peter Maier’s “Tsunami from Heaven Timelapse” filmed in Austria.

Thunderstorms are not just filmed for their theatrical qualities but are also time-lapsed for scientific purposes. The University at Albany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences has a time-lapse camera atop a campus tower so they can capture and analysis weather, including the footage from severe lightning storms such as this.

By showcasing the various features of strong storms through time-lapse videos, viewers can witness the full power of nature.

We, at Time-Lapse Systems, are all too aware, so as part of our bespoke time-lapse services, all our camera systems are equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions. We operate camera systems in outdoor locations across the UK that are built to withstand the harshest conditions.

Please take a look at our website to discover how our time-lapse and site monitoring solutions can work for outdoor projects.

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