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Photography Question 
John T. DiBiasi

How to Shoot Lightning

I am curious how to shoot lightning with low speed film (100 speed).

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9/19/2003 9:31:31 AM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2003
  John - the best way to photograph lightning is use the slowest film speed you can, so you can open the shutter for several seconds and hope that lightning strikes during that exposure! You can do two things to help yourself: if the slower film is still not slow enough to give you a several second exposure, put on your polarizer and/or a solid neutral density filter to block even more light; or, try to do this type of photography at twilight, or nightfall, as it will be dark enough naturally to give you an exposure of several seconds. I usually stop the lens down to f16 or f22, use ISO 50 film, my polarizer if needed, and hopefully then I can open the shutter for 10-30 seconds. This improves your odds of having the bolt of lightning strike the ground while the shutter is open. Have fun - and remember that metal tripods conduct electricity, so don't be out there too close to the lightning, and wear rubber soled shoes (just to help...!)

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9/20/2003 5:30:14 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/27/2003
Brenda's advice is right on. One suggestion I might add is if your camera has a 'Bulb' setting which locks the shutter open, use a cable release, open the shutter and block the front of the lens with a black card (matboard works). When you see a lightning strike, wait about 5-10 seconds and uncover the lens. As soon as you have captured a lightning strike, cover the lens again and wait about 10 seconds then uncover the lens, etc. This process will allow you to capture several strikes on the same frame -- you'll need to experiment. I have a couple of lightning shots in my gallery captured with this method. This only works at night. Best of luck.
God Bless,

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9/24/2003 5:47:27 AM

John T. DiBiasi   thanks a ton for the advice, now I just need a damn storm...

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9/24/2003 9:05:36 PM

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