Friday, May 13, 2011

Lightning Photography

I made my first attempt at lighting photography the other night. We had a really vivid storm move through and I have always wanted to try it so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. Since I did not want to get my camera wet and I was just experimenting I decided to shoot from my back porch. Most of the lightning occurred outside the view of the camera but I did manage to get this one shot. The origin of the bolt lines up quite nicely with the pillar on my back porch. Not the best composed image but I was mostly interested in staying dry and experimenting with technique. 

Since I was shooting digital and did not have a setting to use a shutter release cable I just set the exposure to 30 seconds with an f11 aperture. With the available light I would barely get an exposed image but one good bolt of lightning and I would have enough light for a good exposure. The only problem with this is two bolts would overexpose the image most likely. This did not happen so it is speculative on my part but it should happen. To counteract this I placed my hand over the lens after every bolt ensuring that I only got one bolt per image.

If I had been able to use a shutter release I could have just released the shutter after every bolt and advanced to the next image. I also would have been able to capture a few more bolts. I had one gorgeous bolt appear in the sky about one second after the 30 second exposure finished. I was a little saddened by this. It was not the most fun sitting outside hitting the shutter every 30 secs but the weather was nice and looking through the 50 images I shot to find this one bolt of lighting was well worth it.

Thanks to for a quick guide to photographing lighting. If you want to try yourself be sure to check it out.

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