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A way to photograph lightning at night

Lightning is among the most spectacular natural phenomena that you can capture However, it can also pose many problems. One of them is the risk that lightning can pose. This tutorial will show how to capture lightning however, we’d like to emphasize that you should not photograph lightning unless it’s secure.

Do not be or stand close to the highest point within the scene if shooting a lightning storm. This is the first rule.

However, if you are able to set the equipment in a secure manner, it can create stunning images.

The most secure and effective method to capture lightning is to take pictures from a distance away from the storm. First, you’ll be far from the epicenter of lightning. However, you’ll also be a long way from the most intense storm’s rain.

In this article, we’ll show you how to configure your camera to take pictures of lightning. But before we dive into the settings we’ll want to emphasize the importance of composition. It’s easy to fixate exclusively on the lightning and ignore the scene. The lightning phenomenon is dramatic however, you need be aware of things such as how to apply the Rule of Thirds and creating an intriguing background.

Consider creating depth in your shot. Shoot unprocessed. Your surroundings may appear dim in the image but you’ll be able to pull back some details later in post-production.

One good guideline is to look at the scenery for about a minute. Find out where the lightning strikes and attempt to determine if there’s an underlying pattern that it is moving in. Make a scene. Pre-focus your attention on an area and then wait. Modify as required. These tips should put your on the right trackā€¦

How to capture lightning on any camera

  1. Don’t be the highest thing in the world.
    This is among those items that seem evident, but is actually quite amazing how fast you forget essential safety measures when the rush of a chance to create a stunning photos kicks in.

It is not advisable to take a picture during an icy storm. But should you decide to capture lightning, make sure that you are within an area that are higher-up objects in the vicinity.

The most secure way to capture lightning storms is with the long lens. You can also put your tripod in place in a distant location, and with high-rises in your immediate surroundings.

Setting up your camera low can be safer, but can also provide an image that is more vibrant. Set your camera up on a tripod, and make sure to keep the camera as near in relation to ground level as you can so that it will be possible to capture lighting bolts from their entire length.

02 Focus by hand
When they do occur, even at night, these storms are characterized by very low levels of light and their variety can make them difficult to forecast. The camera’s AF system might have a hard time.

To get the best results, set your camera’s manual focus and then pre-focus the distant object. There’s a bit of trials and errors to be made but it’s the most effective method.

Choose an aperture around 8 mm that will give you a greater depth of field. Now just wait for the right time.

3 Continuous shooting mode
If you want to maximize the chances of your success, you should use the continuously shooting modes. This option is available within your drive modes within the camera’s menu or via a direct button from the body of the camera.

  1. Have plenty of memories
    The shooting of raw files in rapid in succession can quickly eat the memory card. You should ensure that you possess at least 32GB storage space for lightning shots, and, ideally, have a backup card on hand.

05 Exposure setting
It is something that requires a little trial and error right at the beginning. While photographing storms, you’re most likely to work with low lighting or the dark of night.

If you’re shooting in the dark you can set your camera to shoot for 20 seconds at f/8. Use this as a starting point to build from.

If you want to see distant lightning, opt for an aperture as large as F/4 or f/11, when it’s near.

Use ISO 100 if you can and this will require tripod.

Finally, you can adjust the settings so that you underexpose your scene slightly. The image should appear dark, and lighting will provide additional lighting.

Make use of a wide-angle lens
The long focal length won’t let you capture an element of the environment in your shot (such as landmarks, buildings, or other structures) However, it will give you the highest chance to capture a whole shot of lightning inside your shot.

The higher the speed of your lens is, more effective for shooting even in dark situations.

Best camera settings for lightning
Below, we’ve provided the ideal camera settings for lighting, however we’d like to point out that they are just beginning points. Adjust these settings for a steady light, but you’ll need to let your imagination be the deciding factor!

Mode of exposure: Shutter Priority
Mode of Focus:Manual
Shutter Speed: 1/30sec or longer
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 100
Lens: 18-24mm
Drive mode: Continuous shooting
White balance Auto

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