Bolt from the blue

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

What’s the ef­fect? Cap­tur­ing light­ning bolts with your cam­era can be very re­ward­ing and im­pres­sive, but also very dan­ger­ous. The last thing you want to do is stand in an open field with your cam­era mounted on a tri­pod – the tallest ob­ject for light­ning to strike. It’s best to be safe in­side some­where like a car or a build­ing. The minute you hear thun­der, count ev­ery sec­ond un­til you see the light­ning. Each sec­ond equals about a mile, so if the time be­tween strikes re­duces, the storm is ap­proach­ing. This is bet­ter, as the chances are it will still be dry be­fore the storm hits where you are.

If you are shoot­ing from a car, you can use a win­dow-mounted sup­port or a re­mote trig­ger and have your cam­era set up a short dis­tance away from you. There are also many phone apps that let you con­trol the cam­era for re­mote shoot­ing. Even though Nikon cam­eras are well sealed, it’s ad­vis­able to cover your gear to keep the rain off your lens.

What’s the time? There are three meth­ods for cap­tur­ing light­ning bolts. The first is to use a 30-sec­ond ex­po­sure, which is how I shot this im­age of light­ning over Iguazu Falls in Ar­gentina. This is the ‘open the shut­ter, wait and see method’. If you are lucky the light­ning will strike dur­ing that pe­riod. But Mur­phy’s Law of­ten takes over here – the best light­ning strikes oc­curred when I was re­view­ing the im­ages on the dis­play! The sec­ond method is the ‘light­ning-fast trig­ger fin­ger’. Open the shut­ter the sec­ond you see the light­ning, as the chances are that sec­ondary strikes will soon fol­low. The third method is more a of sure thing: the ‘hot­shoe light­ning trig­ger’. This uses a lit­tle de­vice that at­taches to your Nikon’s hot­shoe and fires the shut­ter when­ever the light­ning strikes.

Choose a scene that looks good with­out light­ning so it will look even bet­ter with the strikes. Make your ini­tial ex­po­sure start­ing with f/8 for 30 sec­onds at ISO100. Af­ter the first strike, check your shot and make any ex­po­sure ad­just­ments ac­cord­ingly. I ended up re­duc­ing the ISO to 64 and used an aper­ture of f/11 to en­able a 30-sec­ond ex­po­sure for this im­age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.