Tripod Techniques: A Bolt From the Blue

 

We usually wait by our windows hoping to catch a glance of lightning, but here is how you can capture it yourself!

Horizontal bolts are quite rare and can disorient the viewer, besides adding more dynamism to the image. Exposure: 6sec at f/4.5 (ISO 100) Photograph/Abhay Nawani

Horizontal bolts are quite rare and can disorient the viewer, besides adding more dynamism to the image. Exposure: 6sec at f/4.5 (ISO 100) Photograph/Abhay Nawani

While you might look at a stormy night with some apprehension—after all, how many subjects can you find on a such a night—there is an easy way out. Does it sound like thunder? Are there chances of lightning? Well, it is time to dig out your tripod.

Rounding Up the Usual Suspects
Like most other forms of nighttime photography, what you need to get a good lightning photo is a low ISO value, a slightly stopped down aperture like f/8 and a slow shutterspeed. The Bulb mode coupled with a cable release might just be your best friend because you can end the exposure whenever you want. Evidently, you will also need a tripod.

Adding Some Spice
Look for elements such as farmhouses or cottages if you are in an open field, or even unusual trees. If you are in a city, look for an interesting cityscape to frame your lightning shot in. Always pay attention to the weather forecast to predict where the storm is going to strike and how it is going to move.

Protection from the Elements
Please carry a heavy-duty cover for your camera and tripod. And once you have done your setup, move away from the tripod and maintain a safe distance. You do not want to be close to a lightning conducting rod during a storm. You can also use a lens hood to protect the front of the lens from sprinkles.

Quick Tip
Switch off noise reduction. It is not only better to do NR in software later. In-camera processing tends to freeze the camera after the exposure is made, in an attempt to reduce noise.

For more cool tips on tripods, click here.

Tags: Shooting Technique, Ambarin Afsar, tripods, thunderbolt, lightening