How to photograph lightning

The equipment and settings you need to capture nature's own light show.

How to photograph lightning prev next


Exposure: There is no hard and fast rule on the settings you need to use when shooting lightning, but in general, you need a slow ISO speed, a small aperture and a long shutter time. Use an aperture that is small (say f/22), especially if the lightning bolts are huge and bright and light up the sky. Distant bolts that are not as bright need to be shot with a wider aperture value (say f/8.0), otherwise they might get lost in the background. Use a slow ISO speed. ISO 100 and ISO 200 should be the values your camera is set to; anything above this could overexpose your shots and also introduce plenty of noise. The shot above is an example of an over-exposed lightning shot in which the bolt is completely drowned out by the intensity of the light. In this shot we used an aperture of f/8, an ISO speed of 200 and we kept the shutter open for 38.5 seconds.

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How to photograph lightning

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