Inspiration Strikes for the Photographers of Big Bolt Media

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JUL 5, 2019

As holiday stragglers set off leftover fireworks across town, the storm-chasing photographers of Big Bolt Media will be showcasing highlights from nature’s own light show with a new exhibition opening tonight at Connect Bradenton. It will be the first gallery exhibition for Big Bolt Media and the first show in Connect Bradenton’s revamped co-working space. A reception with the artists will be held tonight from 6pm to 10pm.

With five photographers from Big Bolt Media participating, around 40 images will be on display throughout the Connect Bradenton space, capturing idyllic sunset scenes, billowing and whirling cloud formations and, of course, lots of lightning. “A lot of people are afraid of it, and so a lot of people don’t really get to enjoy the beauty of storms,” says Justin Labadie, a member of Big Bolt Media who has been chasing storms and photographing lightning for about five years now. “We hope to show how cool lightning is.”

And although the Southwest Florida audience where Big Bolt Media operates will undoubtedly be familiar with the storms that become a near daily occurrence throughout the summer, Labadie feels confident that few will have seen lightning as clearly, distinctly—and closely—as they will from Big Bolt Media’s show. “We like getting right into the thick of it,” he says, recalling an incident from just a couple weeks prior, when lightning hit the roof he was shooting from. “A leaderbolt jumped out of the clouds,” he says, “and it struck right on the other side of the parking garage.” But Labadie got the shot. And that’s what matters.

“The cool thing about lightning is that every shot is different,” Labadie says. Even a shot of the same bolt at the same moment can give a wildly different picture if from a different perspective. And the lens always reveals more than the human eye, focused on that central leaderbolt. “The camera can pick up way more than the eye can see,” says Labadie. “There are sometimes thousands of other fingers coming off, searching for something to strike.”

Big Bolt Media’s debut show opens tonight at 6pm at Connect Bradenton, with the artists in attendance.

Photo by Justin Labadie.

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