Lightning And Beyond

 

 

This was a rare occasion when a not-so-slow shutterspeed of 1/15sec worked, and that’s something that can happen in particularly turbulent storms. Photograph/ Raj Lalwani

This was a rare occasion when a not-so-slow shutterspeed of 1/15sec worked, and that’s something that can happen in particularly turbulent storms. Photograph/ Raj Lalwani

Here are some tips on how to make impactful photographs when lightning strikes!

Get the Basic Technicals Right
A relatively long exposure, a tripod and turbulent weather—the first step to getting an innovative lightning photograph is to first get its basic technique right. While setting your exposure, remember that you shouldn’t choose your settings only on the basis of the ambient light. When the lightning strikes, the scene is going to be a lot brighter. In a way, this is like flash photography.

Not Just the Effect
A common mistake made by most photographers is to concentrate all energies on getting the lightning. That is the first step towards the image, but it’s not everything. How is your picture different from the thousands of lightning photos shot by others? The foreground activity and the composition are equally important. Ask yourself, does this frame look good without the lightning? If it does, the lightning strike will elevate it from a good photo to a great one.

Lightning always seems to look better with a relatively cool White Balance setting. Photograph/ Kajla Sarjeet

Lightning always seems to look better with a relatively cool White Balance setting. Photograph/ Kajla Sarjeet

Combine Other Long Exposure Techniques
From flash pumping to light trails to motion blurs of people moving across the frame, slow shutterspeeds allow you a variety of effects. Imagine combining one or two of these effects along with the lightning!

Make Your Own Luck
Fortune plays a role, but by observation and anticipation, you can see that the luck goes in your favour, on more occasions than not. Lightning, when frequent, tends to follow patterns. Keeping your frame ready with the shutter being pressed repeatedly (or by setting up a remote) will go a long way in getting the shot.

This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: better photography, tips and tricks, long exposure, august, lightning, 2014, storm