Lightning Photography Tips for Beginners

We had a very ambitious storm last night, and where there’s a storm, there’s often lightning. Nasim has a detailed article written on “How to Photograph Lightning”, so if you hear there’s a storm coming in your area and you want to grab some amazing shots of it, Nasim’s extensive article will help you be prepared from the start.

When the storm hit, I didn’t have a tripod anywhere near me, but you don’t always need one if you just want to take a spontaneous photograph through an open window or a balcony. While I’m not usually one to photograph lightnings (or landscapes, for that matter), I still grabbed my old-ish D300 (still a great camera I use at weddings) with a AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8G lens mounted, set it to its widest setting of 17mm, closed down the aperture to f/8 (the wider the aperture, the thicker the lightning will be, but you’ll need to compensate using slower ISO setting or a ND filter to block some of the incoming light from the flash) and, after setting it to manual focus only, focused at infinity. My camera was set to Auto WB, ISO 200 (base setting for my D300) and Bulb setting in manual exposure mode (M).

Photographing Lightning_1

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AEO Photo Lightning Strike Pro Review

With spring here and thunderstorms in the forecast, I thought I would review the Lightning Strike Pro, a lightning shutter trigger from AEO Photo which has been kindly provided by B&H – the largest photo reseller in the world that we use more than any other to buy our photography gear.

Lightning Strike Pro Trigger

The AEO Photo Lightning Strike Pro makes capturing a photo with lightning easy – and potentially safer. Without a lightning strike trigger, one would either utilize a long exposure and hope that you capture the moment or you would have to hope your shutter finger is fast enough to react to the first millisecond of flash. Now, there is an easier and better way to capture lightning strikes with your camera. It is so easy in fact, that the first time I tried to use it, I set it up on my backyard deck, and since the sporadic lightning occurring was more of a flash in the clouds as opposed to a bolt, I left the set-up on the tripod and did a few minor chores around the house. After about 10 or 15 minutes, I came back to check the pictures. What I found was that amongst a number of shots of a cloudy but lit up sky, was one shot that included a lightning bolt. Kind of like those commercials on television, you can set it and forget it, it is that easy. Not only easy, but it is also safer than standing outside exposed to the elements while trying to grab a photo.

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How to Photograph Lightning

Photographing a lightning is a dangerous hobby. What most people do not understand, is that a lightning storm is unpredictable and could strike down any time, anywhere. At the same time, taking a picture of a lightning can be very rewarding, especially if the pattern is unique or the picture is taken at an extraordinary location.


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