This and That

Random bits of my life

Lightning

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 4, 2011

Lightning

Lightning

My first lightning photos!

Lightning storms are not common where I live, which means that I don’t get many opportunities to practice. Although I’ve read articles on photographing lightning, I couldn’t remember a thing, so I stood on my balcony and shot frame after frame, trying different exposures. The first exposures were much too long. Although most articles recommend very long exposures, that probably works best in an area with little light pollution. I ended up with weird, brown, halogen-lit skies instead of lightning.

The first photo was shot at 1/10 sec., f/3.5, 18mm, ISO 200. The second one was shot at 1/4 sec. I shot these in RAW, which made processing them a lot easier. Manual focus, no tripod.

At the time I was annoyed that there was a big cypress tree between me and the storm, but now I appreciate the importance of foreground interest in a lightning photo.

If you want to photograph lightning properly (instead of fumbling around in the dark like I did), check out the Digital Photography School article on photographing lightning.

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12 Responses to “Lightning”

  1. Adina said

    Amazing photos! I tried taking some w/my basic hand-held Canon, but the exposure takes to long to happen and nothing worked. These are perfect – and that lightning storm *was* quite unique for these parts!

  2. Karen R in GA said

    WooHoo! Those are awesome! It’s somehting I’ve tried time & again, but back in the “film” days, I couldn’t afford to just blow through roll after roll and maybe or maybe not get anything – and my digital is NOT fast enough, by a long shot. WHEN I get a DSLR AND learn how to use it, I’ll give it a go again πŸ™‚

    • Avital Pinnick said

      If you mean that your point-and-shoot has shutter lag, that’s not an issue. Nobody can predict when lightning will appear and the flash is so brief that you’d have to have superhuman reflexes to capture it. You just point the camera in the general direction and take lots and lots of frames!

  3. aswirly said

    OMG Avital, these are sooo awesome. I never see lightening and I’m so jealous you were able to photograph this storm. The shots are great!! πŸ™‚

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Amber. It’s a freak occurrence for this part of the world, too. Must be something to do with both of us living in such a warm climate. OTOH, you get awesome sunsets and seascapes!

  4. Great shots! They look like a scene from a thriller or a horror movie; the cypress certainly adds a lot to the composition.

  5. Ann said

    Beautiful shots! The cypress brings perspective… it’s funny how things work out for the best sometimes.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Ann. I wish I had caught the other end of the lightning bolt but lightning is so unpredictable. πŸ™‚

  6. Onna said

    oh wow!! I love to catch lightning. We get some good one’s in @ July in the California desert. Your photography is superb, Avital.
    I am sitting here working on your tutorial of Puncetto with open squares. Haven’t made it to the end because beautiful things like these photos distracted me..hehee
    Onna in California

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Donna. I would love to see your lightning photos. Do you have them posted anywhere? The photos of sunrises are beautiful. We don’t have enough humidity or clouds to have spectacular sunrises or sunsets.

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