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How to Photograph Lightning

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Offline The Scorpion

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How to Photograph Lightning
« on: April 02, 2012, 10:13:50 PM »
I am by no means an expert on how to properly photograph lightning (if there is a proper way i don't know).

But I will share with you what I do that seems to work very well.

The hardest part of photographing lighting is finding where the storm is and where it is going. When using weather radar to find the direction of the storm, also use the cloud layer as this can help a little bit. Then finding a safe place to take cover. Lightning can strike you from 10 miles away  :icon_eek:

The second hardest part is to get your camera pointed where the lightning is at. Since it decides where it wants to be, it can be hit or miss.
I have about 100 poor or missed lightning photos for every 1 good lightning photo I have. So it does take time and a lot of patience.
Here are the suggestions I have to make it simple to do.

1. Use a Tripod
2. Set camera lens to Manual focus and set focus to infinity. If you have a Point-N-Shoot camera, this may not work for you, unless it can support manual focusing.

3. Set ISO to 400, but please adjust the setting based on the intensity of the surrounding ambient light, and intensity and closeness of the lighting.
4. Shutter speed, set camera to BULB mode
5. use a remote shutter release, this way you can control how long you want the shutter open when in bulb mode.
6. aperture, I use f/4 to f5.6 typically, but I will adjust it to something like f/7 or f/8 depending on the ambient light.

For DSLR users you should pick this up pretty quick.
Now if you use a Point-N-Shoot camera, you can still do it, but it will take TONS of practice and shots since most of these cameras dont have the proper settings to do this. I think some have a "fireworks" mode that might work. but the most important thing is manual focusing, if your camera cant do that its going to be very difficult.

here are lightning shots....

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/Lightning/Lightning

James
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 10:53:39 PM by Sotol Vista »
everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

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Offline Al

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Re: How to Photograph Lightning
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 10:38:33 PM »
James, Bookmarked!  Thank you!

Pinhole mode?

Al

 


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