On Sunday there was the threat of severe weather across the state, but it wound up not forming much except in the far south and east and over the lake and in to Michigan.   This meant one thing; awesome towering thunderheads in the distance.  So I went out right about sunset to see if I could capture anything.  I didn't get much that I liked, but as it darkened I realized these were some pretty active storms.  Now I'm thinking forget the pictures, let's get a timelapse.

So that's what I did.  I headed to the southern edge of town to a field where I knew I'd have an unencumbered view south/southeast.  The only problem was the street lights.  I kind of didn't want them there and yet I also did.  I thought the lights lighting up this field would provide a nice contrast and color combo, but it's a bit overpowering at times.  So much so that there's actually flare in my 16-35mm (the wide shots) and the light is literally behind me.  

So what's the setup?

  • Canon 5Dmkiii with 16-35 f/2.8L II
    • 3,297 shots at 16mm f/2.8, 2s, ISO 3200
  • Canon 6D with Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD
    • 1,668 shots at 70mm f/4, 2s, ISO 3200

There are actually about another 900 shots taken, but I wound up not using them.  I shot some at 200mm, and quite a few with my 400mm f/5.6.  I thought I could end it by zooming into the moonrise. While it worked, I deleted it because it was so out of place for the subject of the video.  Going from lightning to a crystal clear moon shot changed the subject matter way too fast.

In the end, I took them all, batch edited in Lightroom, exported and ran them into a 1080p 60p project in Final Cut Pro X.  So each second represents 2 minutes of real time.  A soundtrack and sound effects were then added to recreate to the atmosphere, with a tad bit of creative freedom.