A lot of people ask me to “share the secret” about lightning photography. The reality is, its quite simple.
The following are the basic settings I use in any given lightning situation.
Please feel free to ask questions by bubblemailing me. Or if you know any other tips and tricks, please post them in this group.
set your camera to (M) manual
1. I normally open the aperture as wide as possible, e.g f/3.5. This depends however on what you have in your field of view. I you have street lights say, you might want to dial it back to maybe f/8 or f/11, but if you’re looking at a dark landscape the wider the better.
2. Make sure your Cameras ISO is set to the lowest number, 100 or lower. This will ensure grain free shots.
3.Switch to Manual Focus, Set the focus ring to infinity.( Its the little sideways 8 on your lens’ focusing ring).
4. I use the BULB setting with a shutter release cable. Some people say remotes and shutter releases are too slow. But in my experience, I have had no problems with them. They are, in my opinion, essential to successful long exposures.
5. Time your shots. If, like here, your storms are not that active it is a good idea to watch how long it takes for a bolt to occur. And then time your shot, opening the lens some 30 seconds before hand…wait for the bolt… and then close again.
6. One of my shots, “Confused” had an exposure time of 167 seconds @ f/5.6. Just goes to show that varying conditions have a great part in the final result.
7. If you want to take multiple strikes on one frame, Say over the ocean for instance, then close your aperture to its mid range, so as not to overexpose the image.
8. ALWAYS use a tripod!!
Hope this helps.