It’s a stormy day outside with crazy rain. What do you do? Simple. Get your camera and head out to take some lightning photos! That’s the life of a photographer. But you wouldn’t want to be stuck outside in such difficult conditions struggling to take photos, would you now? To help you with lightning photography, photographer Pierre T. Lambert shares his five secret tips:
1. Use a Slow Shutter Speed
Lightning strikes pretty fast. The chance of you pressing the shutter button and the lightning striking at the exact time is minimal. So what you can do instead is use slow shutter speed. Leaving the sensor exposed for a bit longer increases your chances of photographing lightning by a lot. Use something like 1 to 4 seconds exposure to photograph lightning without depending on luck too much.
2. Underexpose Your Shot
Lightning is a source of light itself. It appears for a split second but can really brighten up the surroundings. So, when setting up your shot, be sure to underexpose.
3. Use an Intervalometer
Even using longer shutter speeds doesn’t guarantee that the lightning bolts will be captured by the camera. Who knows when the lighting will occur? To remove luck from the equation, Lambert suggests using an intervalometer. Some cameras have the intervalometer function built in. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to purchase one separately.
“It’s simply a function that allows you to tell your camera to shoot a picture every X seconds.”
The camera will continue taking pictures automatically without you having to press the shutter button every time.
4. Stay Away From the Tripod
When capturing lightning photographs in an open place using a tripod, it’s a good idea to stay far away from the setup. Have your camera well protected using a rain cover, and stay back while keeping an eye on the setup. Get in your car maybe. A tripod can act as a lightning rod. And being struck by lightning definitely isn’t fun.
5. Enjoy the Show
Nature puts up a magnificent show when it comes to lightning. Set your camera up, have something warm and refreshing drink, and enjoy the show. The camera will capture everything for you while you take the time to see what nature has to show.
Next time there’s a thunderstorm, get out there and shoot some lightning photographs. Just be sure to take care of yourself and your gear while you’re out!
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