How to take photos of Lightning

Shot by Amy Moore
Used Specialist at Park Cameras
Have you ever seen photographs of lightning and wondered how you could ever take photos like that?

Well it's very easy. You will need a very fast camera and lightning fast reflexes! Not quite, in fact it is the total reverse. But you will impress people into thinking that you had.

List of items needed:
Any camera will do, compact camera or SLR, as long as you have a long exposure option or Bulb  setting on the camera.

For night time shots, set up your tripod and camera to point at the direction of the lightning. Manually set the lens focus to infinity and aperture to f/8. I find setting my ISO to 400 tends to give me good results also.

With an SLR or high end compact camera, you may have a “B” or “Bulb” setting in your shutter speed settings. If not (as with most compact cameras), you can use your cameras long exposure mode, choosing either a 5 second or 10 second shutter mode. With the “Bulb” setting on a camera, you’ll find you have more control over the period of time the shutter is left open, which in turn gives you less risk of over exposing the image.

With the remote plugged into your camera, or using a wireless remote, we're ready to take that photo.

Wait to see a flash of lightning, wait a couple of seconds after that flash, then hold down the button on your remote until you see a flash of lightning again (no longer then 10 seconds). Let go of the remote button as soon after you've seen the flash of lightning.

With a compact camera and no remote, use the long exposure option to a maximum of 10 seconds and press the shutter button after the flash of lightning appears. You don’t need to hold the button down all the time, as the camera will count itself down from 5 or 10 seconds leaving the shutter open for that time.

Shooting lightning in the daytime is a little trickier (most photographs you see, tend to be at night). To get a great shot, you simply follow the steps above, but at a lower ISO setting and you will need to invest in some ND filters or one large Blocker ND filter. You need the ND (Neutral Density filter) to make sure you have a constant exposure and not to over expose images during those daytime long exposure shots.
We hope these tips help you prepare for when the next big storm comes around. Please remember, that Lightning can be one of the most dangerous natural phenomena to photograph, especially when striking in a big storm, where heavy rain may also be present. Always take care, especially when using a metal tripod.

Here at Park Cameras, we would love to see any lightning shots you are proud of and hope you found this guide useful. Share your photos with us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ParkCameras) and our favourites will find their way into one of our weekly newsletters.

Happy Shooting.

Park Cameras

1 comment:

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Thank you for this blog, I have always wondered how toget a shot of Lightening now this is a big help. I've bookmarked it to read through again.

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