The Best Lightning Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners

How To Shoot Lightning Photography at Night For Beginners

Lightning Photography – In this section of Digital Photography Tips and Techniques, Photos By Meta Explains How To Shoot Lightning Photography at Night.

How To Shoot Lightning at Night – This involves shooting in total darkness with a wide open shutter in Bulb Mode, and wait for the Lightning to Strike, then close the shutter.

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How To Shoot Lightning Photography at Night

Lightning Photography Tips and Techniques

Meta enjoys shooting Lighting Digital Photography at Night, which often means shooting in total darkness from one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s high up overlooks. Meta uses her Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Prime Lens.

• Try to Shoot in Total Darkness. Always Be Aware of the Lightning Storm Around You.
• Wear a Red LED Headlamp – This allows Hands Free Night Vision in Total Darkness.
• Shoot in RAW with Bulb Mode for Manually Controlled Long Exposures.
• Turn Off Image Stabilization when Shooting on a Sturdy Tripod.
• White Balance – Use 3200°K to Cool Down and Boost Blue Skies. When shooting in RAW it doesn’t matter.
• Long Exposures will require a 3 Stop ND Filter or use a Variable ND Filter.
• Bring an Emergency Rain Poncho, Red LED Flashlights, Extra Camera Batteries and Extra AAA Lithium Batteries.

Intervalometer Programming For Lightning Photography at Night

• Use an Intervalometer with the Camera’s Shutter Speed set to Bulb Mode.
• Install a fresh pair of AAA Lithium Batteries in the Intervalometer before using.
• Meta’s Intervalometer RAW Settings for Continuous Lightning Photography at Night:

DELAY: 00:00’:05” | LONG: 00:00’:03” | INTVL: 00:00’:05”

This begins shooting after a setup 5 second DELAY, then take one 3 second LONG Exposure, every 5 seconds (LONG + 2 Seconds).

Note: To ensure correct operation, choose an interval (INTVL) at least 2 seconds longer than the exposure time (LONG).

When using Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR – Is Not Used in RAW, only JPEG), the Interval (INTVL) should be 2x the Exposure Time (LONG), plus 2 seconds, or 8 Seconds in this example.

Some models of Intervalometers, use the Interval (INTVL) as the time after the Exposure Time and Before the Next Shot (2 Seconds in this example), so check your manual.

• Program and Try your Intervalometer before it gets dark. Most have a lighted screen.
• Refer to your Intervalometer’s User Manual for Additional Programming Instructions.

Intervalometer

Night Lightning Photography Digital Camera Settings

Camera: Sony a77 II Digital Camera
Lens: Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8
Camera Mode: Manual Mode
Tripod: Sturdy Tripod with Intervalometer
Focus: Manual Focus to Infinity
White Balance: 3200°K – When shooting in RAW it doesn’t matter
Image Stabilization – Turn Off when on a Sturdy Tripod
Filter: HOYA Variable ND Filter
ISO: 100
Exposure: Underexpose 1 to 2 stops, because Lightning is Super Bright
Shutter Speed: Bulb Mode – Manually Open Shutter, wait for Lighting, Close Shutter
Aperture: f/8.0 to f/11.

Tripod Leg Pouches for Long Exposure Lightning Photography at Night

Meta uses a Sturdy Tripod for Long Exposure Photography, including Lightning Photography at Night. Velcroed on the 3 Sturdy Tripod Legs are 2 Black Rapid Bryce Pouches and 1 Protective Case for the Intervalometer. The 2 Bryce Pouches contain:
• 1 Red LED Headlamp – Allows Hands Free Night Vision in Total Darkness
• 1 Red LED Flashlight – Helps with Night Vision in Total Darkness
• 1 Red LED Micro-Flashlight – Clips to outside of Bryce Pouch
• 1 Wireless Remote Control to Prevent Camera Shake
• 1 Dew Remover Heated Lens Wrap – For Use on Cool Nights
• 1 Anker 13000 USB Power Bank – Powers Dew Remover for about 2.5 Hours
• 3 AAA Lithium Batteries – Spare Batteries for Red LED Headlamp
• 2 AAA Lithium Batteries – Spare Batteries for the Intervalometer
• 1 3.6V Lithium Battery – Spare Battery for Red LED Flashlights
• 2 CR2032 Lithium Batteries – Spare Batteries for Wireless Remote Control and Red LED Micro-Flashlight
• 4 Zeiss Lens Cleaning Wipes – Front Pocket
• 1 Zeiss Microfiber Lens Cloth – Front Pocket

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Top Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners
Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners

Photos By Meta

Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners
PO Box 1571
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
1-828-265-2730
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Photos By Meta

Nature Photographs were shot by North Carolina Nature Photographer Meta Gätschenberger of Photos by Meta, with Sony Lenses and Minolta Lenses.

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