My First

James Wheeler

Halifax, United States

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Artist's Description

… and so far best lightning shot. This is almost all natural – the brightness/contrast adjusted a tiny bit, but that’s it.

The evening I took this, a storm rolled up the valley towards our house, and I and my trusty little Olympus point-and-shoot, stood on the deck snapping black photo after black photo with no luck. After approximately 50-60 attempts, I gave up, and went inside in disgust. The lightning kept popping, time and again, 30-40 seconds between each blast, but I had managed to miss every blast.

Looking at my camera, I thought about it’s possibilities. It did have a manual mode that allowed up to a 15 second exposure, so I thought – why not? This was one of the first times I REALLY played with the options more, and I walked out front (as the storm had begun to pass our house by then).

I stood on the porch, and aimed the camera at the mountain, and snapped. It was pitch black outside, and no lightning – till the camera was in “processing” mode.

So I tried again, and again. The third time, I captured this shot.

Some lessons learned:

1) Lightning may hit the mountain in the distance but if you look closely at this shot, the tendrils of it reached back over me – so be darn careful out there.

2) Probably hand-held isn’t a good idea. I did it successfully here, but in 100% view I can see a faint shadowing of the lightning. Maybe it would have been there anyway, considering the equipment I was using but… Maybe not. On the other hand, a tripod is bulky and might just act as a lightning rod. :)

3) 15 second exposure doesn’t work very well if it’s not pitch black outside, unless you can bump up the aperture to a really high value – most point-and-shoots seem to stop around f8. And if you can go above that, you may just miss the lightning anyway. Sometimes the conditions have to be just right for a good shot to happen.

Artwork Comments

  • Zaldy Infante
  • James Wheeler
  • Zaldy Infante
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