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There's no "ONE setting" for lightning photography...

by Dave Kallaway

Just as someone who follows my photography was asking me for my camera settings when I took this lightning shot...I stopped them to say "there's no ONE and only ONE setting for shooting lightning pics." Think about what happens when storms come and go. The light changes radically. Even if it's pretty dark outside..you can snap a lot of dark pictures if the lightning is fairly small and blown out and way too bright if there's tons of lightning. So what do you do?? Observe, test shots, and prepare to change your camera settings to adjust to the changing light. I started at ISO 400, Aperture at f3.5, Exposure Compensation at -.3 while using a Nikon 10-24mm lens wide open at 10mm. Also..I set my camera on manual with the shutter set on "bulb" so I could push down the shutter...try and get a lightning pic and then release the shutter. Pics were turning out way to bright..I had to turn down something..so I set my ISO at 160, my fstop at 6.3 and dropped my exposure compensation down to -2.3..which is a lot. It darkened up the sky..made the lightning "pop" more..and I kept clicking to get this kind of lightning shot. There are tons of different ways to get lightning pics and lots of different settings to try...that is sooo the point!! Be flexible..find a starting point and keep your eye on the amount of light you see in the storm. And the main thing...BE SAFE OUT THERE!!! Good Luck...may the force be with you!!!