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Photo Of The Day By Christoph Stopka

Photo By Christoph Stopka

Today’s Photo Of The Day is Lightning in Cloud” by Christoph Stopka. Location: Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado.

“The Mother of All Storms—that’s what everyone in Colorado’s Wet Mountain Valley called this incredible storm,” say Stopka. “It started as a typical summer monsoon thunderstorm, but after its initial shower and rumbling thunder, this storm did something very unusual: It sucked in all the clouds and moisture in the vicinity and kept on building up the cumulus tower. Higher and higher, spinning in place for several hours, getting bigger and bigger. And it wasn’t moving in any direction. Simply stationary and growing to absolute frightening proportions.

“Everybody in the large Wet Mountain Valley was watching this monster and neighbors were calling each other, concerned but also completely mesmerized. In the beginning I was able to use a 50mm lens to take the first photos of the cloud, but the bigger it grew the more I had to switch lenses—to a 35mm, to 24mm, to 20mm and in the end I could barely fit this cloud into my 14mm! And it was hovering directly over our house.

“Finally, after about more than four hours of churning in place, deep and loud thunder started to growl from the giant cloud and lightning was flashing inside the belly of the vapor beast and illuminating the cloud from the inside. And shortly after that it literally felt as if all hell was breaking loose: Lightning bolts were shooting nonstop from the cloud in every direction and the huge thing started to move slowly forward, wreaking total havoc with flooding rain and many lightning hits on its path along the foothills of the Wet Mountains. I have never witnessed such a display of Nature’s power.”

Want to get your images in the running for a Photo of the Day feature? Photo of the Day is chosen from various galleries, including AssignmentsGalleries and Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.