Lightning captured at 7207 fps with a Phantom camera. Note the many initial stepped leaders, a single return stroke, continuing current and a recoil leader.
The Accidental Tourist. A driver is paying attention to the roadside researcher shooting high speed video at 10,000 fps of a lightning strike, while failing to note the brilliant flash.
This is how lightning actually behaves! Shot with a Phantom high speed camera at 11852 images per second - or 40x real time.
A classic example of an upward lightning leader from a tall TV tower. Triggered by a conventional CG (not shown), it begins with a typical initial continuing current
2000 fps from a chase vehicle shows branching stepped downward leaders approaching ground. Only the left leader connects with an upward leader to form a return stroke.
A bolt-from-the-blue (BFTB) lands outside the main rain shaft of the storm (left) near Darwin, with two return strokes, the second having a noticeable continuing current.
High speed video reveals lightning structure
This 6-stroke flash near Darwin could be considered a bolt-from-the-blue as it attached several kilometers outside of the rain shaft. Rain need not be falling for lightning to strike.
High speed video (6900 fps) shows the complexity of a single lightning strike to ground. Note the long continuing current, multiple strikes, and separate attach points to ground.
High speed video (2000 fps) shows the first stepped leaders hit the ground, but the others stay far above the terrain. Most lightning, in fact, does not strike ground.
Stepped leaders. Stepped leaders branch downwards, with one managing to connect with an upward leader to close the circuit and create a brilliant return stroke.