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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lightning Storm Photography explained and "How To"

Last night there was one of the most intense lightning storms I have ever seen.  However it's hard to remember the others since they were so long ago.  It didn't dawn on me until it was almost too late that there were intense lighting strikes happening about every 2-10 seconds right outside my backyard.  I ran for my camera and without a tripod, I shot some handheld exposures up to 30 seconds.  I quickly ran out of time and had to retreat as the hail was soaking me and my camera!  In the end I love the few photographs I obtained and wanted to share them with you and explain how you can do it yourself!

PHOTO #1:   F11, ISO 500,  30sec exposure
Notice the blurry alley and definition of the houses?  Or how about the squiggly looking yellow lights along the bottom of the photograph?  This is because I hand held the camera (without a tripod) to create this effect.  Ideally if I had more time I would have tried both methods but I knew in advance that the lightning strikes would freeze everything from it's "flash" like qualities.  The blur in the houses is as a result of multiple strikes in the same photo.  The "squiggly lines" are street and solar lights in peoples backyards that slowly burned their image into the frame as I tried to hold the camera still.  However I knew that a bit of motion is almost better and adds a cool artistic effect that you cannot achieve with a tripod.