Yeah is an amazing capture. Tom always remains in his van...mainly due to the plethora of video and camera equipment! Usually nowadays when I set up I will hang about for a bit, but if the lightning is coming close or there's thunder overhead I have to admit I stay in the car. Not for wanting to be out in the elements...love that bit of it...but just won't risk it albeit the odds are somewhat 1:400,999 of being struck. So much has come since the early days eh Michael - am loving the challenge this is bringing.
Here's two photos for comparison from a few weeks back. Storm was about 70km from me and had some pesky weeds and stuff hindering my view so I deliberately kept the exposure times down, the other is from Jacci Ingham who was a lot closer! They are the same storm and show negative flashes even though they come close to the storm's crown. I thought they were positive flashes, alas not to be! Just goesto show that those big dog legs are not what they seem. From reading articles, positive lightning accounts for less than 10% of all lightning worldwide. It is not that common but winter based storms appear to be of that polarity due to the storms' makeup and high volume of water droplets. Might be something worth looking into through lightning detection networks as to whether NSW/ QLD etc have more + flashes also.
(photo courtesy Jacci Ingham)
Tom provided me with a googlemap overlay with lightning data from WLDN from 10pm 30Jan to 10am 31Jan 2011, all strikes in the NT were - polarity. Although he was sure some positive flashes occured, he was checking the data with the provider, but def said that these were negative based flashes. Learn something every day!