One key to taking pictures of lightning is to have a camera that allows you to take bulb exposures. The savvy ones may have guessed that you will be taking most of your lightning photos at night.
Most lightning photographers prefer to wait until a storm has passed before attempting to photograph lightning. The idea is to leave the shutter open for long enough to capture a lightning strike, but not long enough that too much light creeps into your camera and the whole image looks white. There are certain while balance settings that tend to work better for photographing lightning.
Once you are setup, you will want to set your aperture to F8 and use manual focus to get the shot.
I'd recommend a wider angle lens - around 18mm so you can get the whole sky, and have a greater chance of the lightning being somewhere in the frame.
Robinwolf says:Aug 21, 2015Would it be possible to shoot daytime lightning storms if you used to ND filter to help cut some of the light? Presley says:May 25, 2015when I was 10 I took a picture of a lightning bolt with a regular digital camera never used the setting above but I'll tell you my secret on how i did took a picture and that is to count to 10 seconds and then press the button.
You would require a camera that can be adjusted to shoot on a manual mode or at least on a shutter priority mode. A sturdy tripod & remote is essential as you wouldn’t want the shot to be ruined because your camera wobbled in your hands during the long exposure.
If you wanna skip the hassle of waiting & anticipation for lightning to happen you may try some dedicated lighting trigger. Use a smaller ISO number, ideally 100-200, to ensure that the streaks of lightning don’t wash out the pictures.
Pre-focusing for lightning is a great idea, but the problem is you can’t see it until it strikes. Step 1: Setting the ExposureIn order to take photos of lightning you need to determine how long you cameras exposure can be set, or if it even has the exposure setting. Also what a good thing to do to lower noise is to later take a photo with the lens cap on then in photoshop or whatever software use blend in the lenscap shot to reduce noise, it makes a difference in final product.nice pictureA very useful Instructable.
When attempting to photograph UN-predictable subjects like lightning always use the RAW format if your camera supports it. Use ISO 100 or the lowest possible ISO setting available in your camera to eliminate the chances of image noise caused by long apertures. The Aperture value is actually determined by the brightness of the lighting which is also affected by how close or how far from you is the action taking place. For photographing lightning bolts it is better to switch your focusing mode to manual and focus manually at the sky. If you are using a tripod and capture many bolts with the same camera position, you could later stack those in post production and create fascinating multi bolt shots. Lightning photography requires you to be patient, keep trying till you get your shot and do not stop there, keep experimenting with different settings and you will be surprised at the results. Galleries============================================Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts. A bulb exposure is a photograph where you get to decide how long you want to keep your shutter open. Thata€™s because there is no other light source to crowd out the lightning strikes you will be capturing. There is always a small chance youa€™ll get the shot, but your window of time for capturing it is much much smaller.
It doesna€™t matter if you are covering your camera with a raincoat, youa€™re going to do some damage if youa€™re in the middle of a downpour.

When you are setup, take a few test shots first (even without capturing a lightning bolt) and work out how long you can leave the shutter open without ruining the photo. The idea is to point your camera towards the lightning and keep the shutter open until you see a strike, or the 30 seconds shutter time has elapsed. It doesna€™t matter if you are using a digital SLR or a point-and-shoot, fluorescent white balance is your mode of choice. Twist your focus ring to infinity, point your camera where you believe the lightning will strike, and then press the shutter.
That will cut out a lot of light and allow you to keep your shutter open for a lot longer than normally possible in the daylight.
They are scary, destructive yet beautiful, giving them an unique combination which is awe inspiring and certainly worthy of photographing.
Any tripod will basically do unless it has a tendency to be easily knocked over by gusts of wind. In case of lightning photography it is imperative that your shots are neither over nor under exposed. Since lightning is too bright using a higher ISO number will only over exposure the pictures. Being one of the wonders of Mother Nature, lightning bolts make one powerful subject for photography. If you have access to all items in the list given above its fantastic; it will make your job a lot easier and help you get excellent pictures. Use Manual mode if your camera supports it, For DSLR users the Bulb Mode indicated by the alphabet B is also a good option.
Longer shutter speeds make the process simpler and also helps you catch multiple bolts in one shot; however the chances of light contamination and noise is more in case of longer shutter speeds.
Also make sure to add some interesting element in the picture, even if it is silhouetted out. Do scout for good locations to shoot from, locations which could provide you shelter in case of a storm etc well in advance. You'll find yourself taking better shots by using just two or three tips!Prepare to learn photography the fun way!Simple and effective tips and techniques. Usually you (or your camera) decide this beforehand with the shutter speed setting, but in bulb mode, you decide when you want to close the shutter by pressing the shutter button a second time. If it looks like it's going to rain, you'll also need a plastic bag to cover everything except your cameraa€™s lens.
Besides, it's very dangerous to be outside holding an electricity conducting tripod with lightning overhead.
It gives the sky a purplish short of tinge that makes your lightning photography much more colorful and interesting. Here’s our list of tips & camera settings to capture this phenomenal natural force perfectly. They detect sudden changes in the light level and capture the scene (Lightning, fireworks, sparks, IR).
However if you want to do it manually, the shutter speed has to be of a decent length which is sufficient to cover the lightning bursts. If you have the appropriate model Canon camera you can dramatically change the firmware functions without modifying the permanent firmware at this site. But you could easily take good lightning photos with just a point and shoot camera which has manual mode and nothing else. Point and shoots already has a wide angle of view and a strong umbrella able to withstand the weather could serve as weather proofing for both you and your equipment. If your camera does not support manual mode, then use the Aperture priority or any other mode in which you get the slowest possible shutter speed.

If it is underexposed open up the aperture and if it’s over exposed use a smaller aperture.
As you will be using a tripod or any solid surface to stabilize your camera IS is not necessary.
Those of you with point-and-shoot cameras can still take lightning pictures without using bulb mode, but you will have a little less control. Otherwise your camera's sensors are overwhelmed with the amount of light and your resulting image is full of white.
I immediately start a new photo by opening the shutter once more and starting the 30 second count again.
Firstly, you can prefocus on any distant object manually.Secondly,every lens comes with a focusing distance guide. As you are shooting in RAW and different lightning bolts have different colour temperatures it is better to stick with the Auto White Balance setting.
Moreover it will try to compensate for the camera shake that is not there and thus may induce shake of its own.
You wona€™t be able to hold the shutter open as long as you want (like bulb mode), but it should enough time to allow you to capture the next lightning strike. Look at the top of the lens barrel and you will see some numbers indicating the distance in ft between the subject and the camera. Remember all those tips to stay safe and prevent lightning from hitting us; yeah I am referring to the same tips we were taught in grade school.
A longer shutter speed will allow you to capturing any lightning that strikes inside the frame during the exposure time.
Hopefully at the end of those numbers you will see a symbol like this ‘?’ which means infinity.
Keep those in mind and stay safe, your life is more important than a picture taking opportunity. Say you’re looking down from a mountain and the lightning are happening say several miles away, they will appear darker and you will need to open up your aperture to compensate for the lack of light. I am not compleatly sure that i cannot use CHDK maby you could give me a little more infromation on it?Woops! Amazingly two of the sample images were just one-second exposures, meaning the shutter was opened, there was a flash, and the shutter was closed. It will take somebody to get interested at a programming level to port and modify the firmware.
Any lights in the scene (a bad thing anyway) will appear blurred if there is any camera shake.
However, if it is dark and you want several flashes on one “frame” leave the shutter open for several flash event. B) Darkness is good so you can take long exposures thus enhancing chance of catching a strike. If the evening sky is still quite light, the length of time the shutter can be held open is reduced and it is just more difficult to catch a lightning flash. Many of the flashes were behind clouds to the actual lightning was not visible in many images.

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