Tips for shooting lightning

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by photoflyer, Jun 2, 2018.

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  1. photoflyer

    photoflyer TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    With summer upon us, I would like to shoot lightning. I have always found this difficult. How about sharing some tips? Lens. Speed. Aperture. ISO, Filters etc.

    I will also start with a specific question: "When attempting capturing lightning in daylight/dusk is an ND filter useful?"

    Please feel free to include your examples with an explanation as to how you captured this ephemeral natural wonder.


     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  2. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Get one of these - www.LightningTrigger.com

    "When attempting capturing lightning in daylight/dusk is an ND filter useful?"
    A ND can be helpful in daylight, but not as helpful during civil twilight.
     
  3. slat

    slat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm no expert but I usually use a low ISO at f8 and do timed exposure in full manual. I adjust my time to keep my EV right around zero or just a little underexposed. I usually shoot at dusk and at night. I'm usually at work in the day light hours so I don't get a chance to do much at that time.
    Interested to see if someone else with more knowledge responds.
     
  4. dm50384

    dm50384 TPF Noob!

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    When shooting lightning use need a tripod and remote shutter release. f-stop mid range and the slowest shutter speed you can get away with. Too high an f-stop with a low iso won't pick up some of the less brilliant strikes. Best done at night to catch multiple strikes. Keeping the shutter open and luck is the trick. Combine daytime photos for showing multiple strikes. Using the bulb setting helps. Just be careful you don't over expose
     
  5. deeky

    deeky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For me, without a lightning trigger, night time is the way to go. I can leave the shutter open much longer and don't need to be nearly as lucky with my timing. Examples:

    [​IMG]IMG_5670a by breckmiller, on Flickr

    f/5.6, ISO 125, 15 seconds.
    This was tricky to balance the light of the power plant with the storm lighting.

    [​IMG]IMG_5682a by breckmiller, on Flickr

    f/5.6, ISO 400, 30 seconds.
    Much less man-made lighting here. There were street lights across the top of the dam behind me that were lighting the intakes probably 300 yards away or better. The higher ISO to light up the intakes almost made the lightening flash too bright. The intakes are a little blurry. I had the center post of my tripod fully extended and a strong headwind giving just the slightest shake to the camera. This shot alone was about enough to sell me on more than a cheapy tripod.
     

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