All new epic close lightning strikes in slow motion high definition up to 2000 fps / 64x’s slower with anvil crawler lightning and the birth of several bolts as step leaders slowly march toward the ground.
This best of lightning video compilation was all shot in the Spring storm season of 2016. Several slow motion frame rates were used from 250-500 frames per second (fps) in full HD to 2000 fps. In order to increase chances of catching close lightning strikes on camera a wide angle lens (18mm) was used. The closest strikes are inside 100 feet however the wide angle lens makes them appear slightly farther away.
The slow motion video really capture the chaotic nature of lightning. The flickering branches and step leaders occur in milliseconds but when slowed down to 2000 fps their secrets are revealed.
When the charge difference between the thunderstorm and the ground are strong enough, a step leader begins to blindly branch toward the ground or in some cases seen here curve back up into the storm. This is the insulating capacity of the air breaking down as the negative charge starts moving downward. The instant this dim branching step leader makes contact with the ground (or upward streamer), a massive electrostatic discharge we know as lightning occurs. Watch the 2000 fps section of this video and you can see this millisecond phenomenon happening.
The step leader has paved the way for successive return strokes to occur and several other discharges can occur through the channel. We see this as a flickering channel. In all the negative lightning observed in this video, there were on average 4-5 strokes, however strikes had up to 20 strokes evident in the isolated thunderstorm in this video in the blue sky.
MUSIC: “Angel’s Serenade” by Southern Backtones