Lightning pictures

One day during a storm after a lightning fall 340 m from me, I had the idea to try to take pictures of lightning. I had no idea how to do it. But in the end, I found some parameters, whish are easy to setup on your camera to capture lightning. In this article I will explain you how to take lightning pictures.So the idea is to take a very long picture with a close aperture. In this way the camera will capture only high light (lightning). To perform this kind of pictures you need a pod to put the camera on and keep it steady. This is the list of things to do, to setup your camera:

  1. Fix the camera on the pod, and take care that the camera is not moving, otherwise you will get a blurry picture
  2. Disable the auto-focus on your lents
  3. Do the focus manually on infinite
  4. Disable the optical stabilisation if you have it. As your camera will not move on your pod, you don’t need it.
  5. Put you camera on Manual mode
  6. Set the ISO to the minimum, in my case 100 ISO. Because we will take a picture of 30 s as the noise in summed on the time, it is better to reduce the input noise.
  7. Set the exposure time to 30s. This increase the probability to capture a lightning. Because if you do the ratio time picture take divided by the time picture take plus the time between pictures, you increase your picture time ratio close to 100 %. In my case 30s / (30s + 0,5s) = 98 %
  8. Close the aperture enough to no see very darkly the landscape (underexpose). In this way only hight light will mark the sensor. This parameter depend of the ambiant light, and more you are in a dark environment more it is better.
  9. Turn ON the rafale on your camera.
  10. You are ready to GO! Hold the trigger to take pictures in rafale, and wait for a lightning. I advise you to have a wired trigger that can hold the trigger for you, so you don’t move the camera by holding the trigger.
  11. When a lightning occur while you were taking a picture, don’t panic, don’t touch the camera until it finish the picture. Once the camera finished, you can release the trigger and start watching the picture. But don’t spend too much time watching picture because another lightning might occur and you can miss it.

Do only this in a safe place where a lightning can’t fall on you, security first ;-)!!!!

Good luck with lightning pictures :-).

You can see the picture I took during the lightning:

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