Photographing Lightning is Fun!

Last night my husband walked past our back door and saw this:

1/30 second f2.8 ISO 1400

In addition to lovely clouds, we had a lightening storm all around. I’ve always wanted (and tried several times) to get photos of lightening. Never could do it.

Last night I grabbed the tripod and started trying to get some shots. Setting the camera to Auto mode gave me a shot that was like grainy daylight:

1/4 second f1.8 ISO 1600

Not exactly producing stellar results. So I switched to manual, closed the aperture down to f10.0 and slowed the shutter speed way down to 5 seconds. I didn’t set the ISO (mostly because I forget about that setting) and it was set at 400 from previous shooting.

Then, I just kept clicking hoping for a “lucky” shot. This was the first shot that made me squeal:

5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

After that I didn’t mess too much with the settings, just kept snapping.

5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

I wish I was positioned better for this one, the lightening bolts were AWESOME, but the lit up cloud is pretty, too.

5 seconds f10.0 ISO 400

After 80 shots, I had these 6, plus 3 other cloud shots that were decent. I was ecstatic, which is nice considering the last few times I’ve picked up my camera, I’ve set it back down without taking a single shot.

All that was done for editing on these shots was some cropping & resizing, that is about the extent of my Photoshopping most of the time. I tried learning all the different, awesome tools in PSE 8, but found I would just rather get it right in the camera than mess with it after. So it’s been a long haul with lots of cruddy photos and a few gems, but worth it to me.

What is something you’ve always wanted to take a good photo of?

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  1. Those are FANTASTIC!!! I would have been squealing too!!! I’ve tried a couple of times to get lightening shots but I’ve never actually set up a tripod and tried because of where I am or the view or whatever. One of these days I’m going to do it though! I finally did that to capture fireworks this summer and got some really fun ones by doing that!

    Congratulations on getting these beautiful shots!!

  2. WOW!!!! Gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to take a picture of lightning, too! That and the moon when it’s full. All I have is a glorified point and shoot. It does have manual settings on it, but I have no clue how to work them. 🙂

    • Oooh, a moon shot, that sounds like fun, too!

      I’ve had my D60 for two years now and I’m just now comfortable enough with manual to not freak out when I need to use it, lol. It is nice to have the control now. 🙂

  3. Yvonna Arnold says

    Just to see the glory of God as it happens – WOW!

  4. These are beautiful!

    • Thank you! I still can’t believe I got “lucky” with my timing. I don’t believe in luck, but can’t think of a better word for it, lol.


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