Chasing Lightning

Tim Samaras has a storm in his headlights and the world’s fastest high-resolution camera in the trailer behind. Can it catch lightning in the act? Above: On the highway with the Kahuna in tow, Samaras hunts for the elusive shot. This summer he’s on the chase again, with new, nimbler equipment.  Image © Carsten Peter / National Geographic

A dying thunderstorm



Image © Carsten Peter / National Geographic

Guided by the laptop weather map reflected in his window, Tim Samaras rushes to catch up to a dying thunderstorm. He hopes to be the first to photograph the split-second event that triggers a lightning strike.

A rainbow signals the end of a thunderstorm

Image © Carsten Peter



A rainbow signals the end of another chase.

ipad August issue

 Images are from the August edition of National Geographic magazine for iPad, available on the App Store

A wave of thunderstorms to form along Colorado's Front Range



Image © Carsten Peter

As he waits for a wave of thunderstorms to form along Colorado’s Front Range, Samaras readies the 1,600-pound camera he calls the Kahuna.

Waiting for a lightning strike

Image © Carsten Peter

Taking aim at a storm with a laser, he waits for the right moment to fire up the camera. Too soon, and the device may overheat waiting for a lightning strike. Too late, and another opportunity is lost.

National Geographic