photographing lightning

photographing lightning has been on my “to do” list for a long time. i’ve briefly read about it and the technique used to do it.

standing out in the middle of a t-storm with a big heap of metal isn’t ideal, but who said photography isn’t risky?

obviously we’re lookin for a storm with lots of lightning flashes. a storm that you can still see that just passed over is best. that’s how i got this one.

of course this wasn’t ideal settings for me.  i’m in the parking lot at my old house and saw the sky going crazy with lightning.  being in a hurry, i got cars and lamp posts and a bunch of other garbage in my photo.  i grabbed a paint bucket and propped up my camera real quick.  so yea – this isn’t beautiful or anything, but it’s still a cool capture.

how to do it?  have a tripod. it’s a must. we’re working with long exposures here, so no matter how steady your hands are – it’s no match for a tripod. 

my camera settings:

  • aperture mode (A mode)
  • lens is set manually to infinity
  • aperture at f/11 – f/16
  • ISO 200 or lower

i played around with the aperture setting, but I think i found f/16 to be best.  these settings aren’t in stone – they’re just good for a starting baseline.  you’ll just have to experiment on your own.

a remote control is perfect for triggering the shot. if you don’t have one, not a big deal.

frame your shot and fire away.

the longer the shutter stays open, the more likely you’ll get more strikes in the photo.

be patient. when you get you’re first photo of lightning, you’ll see it’s worth the wait.

and maybe you’ll have better background scenery to work with than i did…


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