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Photography Question 
Sam Endicott
 

Tips on Shooting Lightning


Thank you for all of your great input. I have always wanted to shoot lightning. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to get good results. What film speed? When to click the shutter? That sort of thing. Thanks again.


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6/13/2004 7:28:11 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
cammphoto.com
 
 
  Electric Sky
Electric Sky
Nikkor 180 mm ED, Provia 100, "Bulb" setting
© Bob Cammarata
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Nikon FM2 Manual E...
 
 
The easiest way to do this is at night. You should scout out a suitable area ahead of time that has an un-obstructed view of the north-west sky, (since most storms track from that direction). Watch the weather radar reports, and whenever a potential thunderstorm is tracking in your direction after dark, high-tail it out to the spot you've selected and get everything set up BEFORE the storm arrives. (I've tried getting lightning shots during daylight hours, without much success.)

Mount your camera onto a sturdy tripod, and point the lens in the direction the activity is most likely to occur. Lens choice will depend upon how big you want the lightning bolt to appear. A medium telephoto will record a larger bolt, but the area of sky coverage will be more limited than with a standard lens or a medium wide-angle.

ISO 100 and a aperture of f-5.6 will record the sharpest images. With the camera set to "bulb", use a locking cable release to lock the shutter open. At night, the shutter can remain open indefinitely and the only exposure will be from the lightning. If you're real lucky, a bolt will flash within your compositional frame. You can then advance to the next frame and repeat the process, or leave the shutter open to try for multiple strikes on the same frame.

This technique requires perfect timing and a lot of luck, so plan on quite a few dead frames. If you have several cameras, you can increase your chances for success. Oh yeah ... and try not to get zapped!


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6/14/2004 12:33:57 AM

 
William Koplitz   I wrote an article on photographing lightning that was published in Rangefinder Magazine in the 1980's you can read the article on my site.
http://www.instantpictures.net/news2.html

let me know if it helped.

Just be careful.

Bill


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6/15/2004 2:30:30 PM

 
Daniel Dimitroff  
 
 
The hardest part of capturing lightning is the luck of having your shutter open when a bolt strikes.

A friend of mine wrote an article on lightning photograph at http://www.inchase.org/outflow/chad/lightningphoto.html.


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6/15/2004 3:21:48 PM

 
Daniel Dimitroff  
 
 
The hardest part of capturing lightning is the luck of having your shutter open when a bolt strikes.

A friend of mine wrote an article on lightning photograph at http://www.inchase.org/outflow/chad/lightningphoto.html.

I had a little input on the article and one of my pictures appears in it.


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6/15/2004 3:22:10 PM

 
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