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Sundays on the Bay: Some sudden weather along the shore

Sundays on the Bay will showcase the work of photographer Michael Busch of Great South Bay Images — along with some explanation from him about his shots — and will appear most Sundays.


This past Saturday I noticed on radar a few cells moving down from Connecticut around noon and at 12:30 p.m. the skies darkened with a crack of thunder.

My son and I jumped in the car and headed down to Squassux landing in Brookhaven Hamlet to get a better view of the sky. 

The first thing I noticed was a roll cloud moving southwest over the marina and out over the bay:

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The key to this shot was getting my widest angle lens and getting low to capture as much sky as possible. I usually leave my camera on Aperture priority for landscapes and let the camera calculate shutter speed. Normally I would set it for a higher aperture but with the limited light I used F6.3. 1/160 at 14 mm. 

As the roll cloud developed I realized I needed a bigger view; there was just way too much going on to get everything in one frame — even with a wide angle lens. 

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This is really wide. I took three handheld shots and merged them into a panorama.

This way I was able to capture the roll cloud from end to end.

F9 1/60 at 14mm

F9 1/60 at 14mm

Here I went back to single shot mode to capture more detail in the cloud. This actually looked far better to the naked eye but this is the best detail I could get. I added some clarity and contrast in Lightroom to bring a little more detail out of my RAW file.  I bumped up the Aperture to keep more of the scene in focus.

It was very dark at this point and the shutter slowed down to 1/60. The key at that slow speed is to have a steady hand. The slightest movement would blur the shot.

Right after this the Skies opened up and the camera was put away!

Later Saturday Evening a friend gave me the heads up to go down to the bay and check out some storms moving offshore. 

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F9 1/60 at 14mm

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F9 1/25 44mm cropped

I changed to longer lens to capture more detail as the setting sun lit up the storm.  As it got darker we started to see some lightning.  The best trick to capture lightning is to set up a time lapse. I set my camera to take 3-second exposures every four seconds.

This allows me to make a fast motion video of the storm with the opportunity to capture a decent frame of lightning.

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F9 3-second exposure at 70mm cropped

 

About the author: Michael Busch

Michael Busch is an award-winning photographer from Brookhaven Hamlet who specializes in landscape, seascape, wildlife and aviation photography. Follow his Great South Bay Images all over social media.