Posted on April 12th, 2011
Trying to shoot lightning can be difficult for photographers, but this article will provide some tips to help you be more successful at capturing great lightning photos. There can be quite a bit a risk involved as lightning is very unpredictable. You are usually out in the open with a tripod, power lines, metal fences and other things that will attract lightning. First and foremost be careful but have fun.
Be sure you know and understand the weather conditions. You don’t want to attempt to photograph lightning in the rain but rather as the storm is in the distance or as it approaches. Unless you love being zapped use all precautions necessary. If you can take your shots from indoors then do it, but if you are an adventurer and want some really good shots then outdoors is the way to go.
Camera – but of course right, how else will get those great shots. You should be able to set aperture separately
Tripod – Without a doubt you will need a tripod, a heavy one would be the way to go.
Cable Shutter Release – To trip the shutter remotely.
Exposure and Settings
Set your camera to the lowest ISO speed and shoot RAW. Keep the aperture f/5.6 – f/8 while taking lightning photos. Exposure time all depends on light conditions. When shooting at night, calculate long exposures for you to know the right exposure. When capturing lightning photos during daytime, you can use your camera’s light meter to know the correct exposure. Your lens should also be set on manual focus and focus for infinity because lightning will most likely hit somewhere very far away from your lens.
The simplest form of lightning photography is done well after sunset, with a dark sky. You find a part of the sky where lightning is happening, aim your camera that way, focus on infinity, set the f-stop, open the shutter with or without)the cable release, this is your choice and then close the shutter after lightning happens. When the sky is dark, there is no limit to how long you can wait with the shutter open.
These are only a few tips for photographing lightning to consider. Experiment with your shots and don’t give up if its not perfect the first few times. You will eventually get it right.