I have learned
that lightning photography is part skill, part luck and as you
mostly have to shoot outdoors a lot of risk!
Firstly you have to wait for the right storm, one that allows you to
take her photo and doesn't decide to wipe you and your equipment
out. I am not a storm chaser as such but when the opportunity
presents itself I certainly do try to take advantage of the moment
without getting fried in the process!!
Its difficult to say exactly how to take time exposures of lightning
as factors such as storm conditions, lighting conditions, ISO
settings, aperture settings, camera type and lense choice all come
together to produce the final image. Often a weather front comes
through and you miss the approaching storm due to heavy rain and
have to wait until it passes
Most night-time storm photography I have seen or taken myself is
distant over dark horizons where the shutter has been left open
until the lightning strikes and then closed to prevent further
In this instance I had to deal with some other factors.
Before ever taking any lightning photos, I first learned the art of
night-time exposure of city lights using my canon film slr and a lot
of film rolls to get the right balance between exposure and detail.
I also learned that a slower ISO setting produces a lot less
noise/grain so I keep this in mind when shooting storm photography.
So on this particular night, I was lucky enough to be positioned in
front of the approaching storm with enough time to catch some
lightning strikes before it was rained/hailed out.
I decided to go for a smaller aperture f22 and a timing of 20
seconds to allow enough time for the sensor to register the city
lights in detail and also in the hope of registering a lightning
strike or two.
Well luckily it all came together this evening!!
If you look closely at the photo, you can notice a haze around the
buildings and the lightning bolt on the right side of the frame is
faded. This is because of the rapidly approaching rain and hail that
minutes later after taking this photo completely covered the city
and prevented any further shooting.
My next goal is to capture lightning spreading skywards over the
entire city. Once again I will have to be patient and wait for the