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Photo – Lightning Strike

Hi Everyone,

This photograph was taken when I was pretty new to lightning photography. Back then I didn’t use a lightning trigger. Instead I put a 6-stop neutral density filter on the lens, for day shots, or for night shots like this, adjusted the settings so I could take 10-60 second exposures. I used a wired shutter release that could be locked open and set the shutter speed on Bulb.

Canon Rebel XSi / Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens at 39mm / 1/6 second / f/8 / ISO 100 / Tripod used

With the camera pointed toward the storm, I would lock the shutter open and count off the seconds, then close the shutter. I repeated this for an hour or more and wound up with 100-200 shots, and maybe three containing a lightning bolt.

On this day I had just set up, and this was my third or fourth exposure. I opened the shutter and this huge bolt struck. I wasn’t sure if it was too far to the side to be captured, so I quickly checked, and the bolt was smack dab in the center of the frame. I captured several other bolts that night, but none as large as this one.

You can go to my Articles page at JeffColburn.com to see two articles I have written on photographing lightning, How To Photograph Lightning and Live to Tell About It and The Lightning Bug – Lightning Trigger.

Lightning photography is dangerous. I have almost been struck by lightning three times, and I know four people who have been struck. While they are fine, lightning can kill or cause serious injuries.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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