Capturing lightning can seem like a daunting task, but if you know the basics, it's really quite simple! Tried to make this tutorial as comprehensive as possible to answer any questions and issues that may arise when attempting to shoot lightning. If you have any additional questions, feel free to comment
Don't be discouraged if you don't have a DSLR and a tripod! I took the 3 shots below with my point-and-shoot.
The only lightning-related thing this really doesn't cover is stacking, which I'll write a separate tutorial for. Figured I'd leave it out of this one since this focuses more on shooting than processing
Nice tutorial for the starting photog, very handy. If I might make a couple of suggestions, 1st - Rain Protection. To keep my camera dry I have used a one gallon freezer bag. Put a piece of cardboard in the bag. Then you need something just smaller then your primary lens diameter (quite commonly a 58mm dia. for many Canon lenses) Look for a jar lid in your kitchen, or maybe a large pill bottle cap. It only need to be a couple of mm smaller. Trace the outline on the side of the bag next to the bottom. This way when the camera lens is pointed through the hole the bag top opening is slanted. down. You can stop here, poke the lens through the hole, slap a little gaffers tape around the lens filter to secure the bag and you're done. I got fancy and picked up a multi-prism filter, popped the prism out, then sandwiched the bag between the ring and a clear glass filter. A lens hood will also help keep the lens dry. #2 A quick rule of thumb: the human eye takes in about the same field of view as an 80-85 mm lens. So the so-called "stock" or "standard" 50-55 mm lens is actually a smidge wide-angle. Something to keep in mind when selecting a lens to use.
That's an awesome idea! I've just been using a rag or grocery bag. Reinforcing/shaping it with cardboard is something I have yet to try though. 80-85mm seems way too tight to cover the field of view of the human eye. When I hold my 50mm on a FF body up to my eye the magnification is nearly the same. 85mm would be much tighter. Maybe accurate for what the eye can focus on at one time, since that's a much more narrow area, but in terms of field of view I would think it's a lot wider (considering including your periphery vision, you can see nearly 180 degrees left to right with both eyes open).
I guess you could call it the "apparent" field of view. There was an article about this in a photo mag years ago (I come from a long line of photographers, going back to the thirties) that measured what people "see" vs what a camera with different lenses take in. 65mm was on the very low end, with 80mm being very common. A bit tighter brings in the glasses-wearers. As I recall, the author suggested a zoom lenses in the 60/80 to 200mm range as being a good "standard" lense to keep on the camera normally.
Anyway, it is a bit subjective, the looker tends to mask out any non-important details that become glaringly obvious in the actual photo. You know, like things growing out of people's heads, that sort of thing. Even serious pros make mistakes like that from time to time.
This is awesome. Thanks so much for posting this! I think my biggest problem before was aperture. Now that's solved, and I didn't know about using the fluorescent or tungsten white balance settings. This will help me immensely.
Great tutorial - wish i'd seen something like this sooner. First time I tried to shoot lightning, all shots were over/underexposed and blurred. I only figured out what to do by the time the storm was finished. Hope this helps lots of people, a good lighning shot is really satisfying
omg thankyou this is much apreciated...i tried shooting some lightening with a mate of mine before..hes awesome at it..im just starting and he was too courght up i got one but very dull so thankyou and your photos are amazing