Here’s an awesome photography trick, to help you photograph a lightning strike. Don’t try this in unsafe circumstances (you be the judge). I’m no meteorologist, but getting struck by lightning is not good. So be smart.
Photographing a lightning strike involves using shutter speed, a basic principal of manual photography. So step up the game and stop using the auto settings already. Also, when using shutter speeds this slow, generally anything under a 1/15 of a second, support is required to keep the camera steady. Use a tripod or set it on something where it will be totally still.
- Use a slow shutter speed. These days, most all digital cameras, whether slr or point & shoot, can do a 30 second shutter exposure. Anything beyond thirty seconds would require using the bulb mode marked with “b” on most cameras. Bulb mode simply means the shutter will remain open as long as the camera button is pressed down. In this case, however, give the photo a 30 second exposure to begin with.
- Select aperture. The aperture should be set to something small, try F22. This makes sure everything is in deep focus and the exposure is compensated for.
- Adjust ISO/ASA setting. Fine tune the overall image exposure, by choosing higher or lower film speed settings, to get the setting looking just right. I usually prefer to underexpose in these situations.
- Taking the picture… be careful not to shake the camera when taking the picture. You can avoid problems by setting the timer on your camera, or using a shutter release cord.
If lightning strikes any time while the shutter is open (30 seconds in this case) it’s captured in the photo.
It still takes good timing, however, capturing a lightning strike is a lot easier if it strikes within 30 seconds vs. 1/125 of a second.