SACRAMENTO, CA (KXTV/CNN) – A lightning strike at Yellowstone National Park is caught on camera.
The man who got the picture was shooting a hail storm when the bolt hit the ground just a few feet away.
If you watch the video, you can see the lightning strike the ground just to the left of the frame.
But amazingly, the guy who shot this video didn’t see it.
“And there was no sense of a flash. We just knew it was very close. And it was only when we reviewed the video that we realized how close it was,” Bruce Hyland said.
Hyland was camping with a group friends at Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone National Park and pulled out his point-and-shoot camera to take pictures of this sudden hailstorm.
“All of a sudden we hear this enormous crash. We didn’t see a flash of lightning, we didn’t know how near it was. But I just thought hey, I’ve been taking a video. I wonder if I caught the thunderclap when it went off so I played it back,” Hyland recalls.
A frame-by-frame examination of Hyland’s video shows what the human eyes at the campsite couldn’t see in real time as lightning strikes a pair of nearby trees.
“You can clearly see one frame completely saturates with the light from the strike. And yet, we didn’t see that at all. The next frame, it’s gone but you can see a little orange glow in the tree and you can see an orange glow that goes out into the lake. I think that orange glow in the lake is just reflection off all of those little raindrop craters,” Hyland said.
Within one-thirtieth of a second, the ground erupts as the enormous jolt of electrical energy finds a path through the roots.
Ten frames, one-third of a second after the flash, Hyland reacts to the thunderclap– the startled photographer jerks the camera.
Still pictures taken moments later show the deep scars left by the lightning strike and how close it came to the campers. With medical care hours away Hyland and his friends know they’re lucky this video is the only thing they came away with.