Tips for getting the best photos of tonight’s lightning storm!

Did you try to get a photo of the last lightning storm and just end up with dark, blurry pictures?

Well, there’s some more severe weather – complete with “frequent lightning” and gusts of up to 60 mph – headed our way today. So you get another shot (notice the pun there?)!

Lightning strikes in Spain (Ricardo Faria / Flikr)
Before I give you those tips, I’m obliged to tell you that according to NOAA, no where outside is considered safe during a thunderstormIt’s obviously safest to take the photos from INSIDE a sheltered spot. On average, 51 people are killed every year from lightning strikes. So be smart and don’t let you or your tripod be the tallest thing in the area. Make sure to have a hard-topped metal vehicle with rolled up windows or a building with indoor wiring and plumbing which will act as an an earth ground nearby to take shelter if the storm reaches your location. If you can feel or hear the electricity buzzing in the air, you’re about to experience a very close strike – and you need to shelter immediately!

On to the tips!

Lightning strikes in Thailand (Tony / Flikr)

Here are the best tips and tricks from the experts I could find for getting the perfect shot of lightning strikes.

Since I assume anyone with a fancy camera knows what they’re doing already – this is for the people out there trying to catch the lightning strike with their phone camera.

One trick is called the “quick release”. Get your camera open and aim at the right direction, press and HOLD DOWN on the shutter button. The camera will shoot when you release the shutter button, not when it’s pressed.

Make sure your “finger is on the trigger”. Watch the sky, not your phone. Then wait. Release the shutter as soon as you see the lightning strike!

Wide angle lens will give you the best shot at capturing a strike, so make sure you’ve changed that setting on your camera. Also, think about your photo’s composition.

Lightning out the window (Iraia Martinez / Flikr)

Another trick is to use the “burst” or HDR setting which allows you to take multiple photos in a row with one click.

But how do you know if you’re pointing your camera in the right direction? Storms come from different directions, so check out and watch the radar image of the storm moving to get an idea of what direction it’s moving.

Try to set up your frame a bit ahead of the storm so you can be ready for it. You can even use apps like Lightning Finder or Spark that show strike activity in real time.

Remember – SAFETY FIRST! There will always be another lightning storm and more chances. Don’t risk your safety for a good picture!

If you end up taking a good shot tonight – make sure to tag Bored in Tri-Cities when you share your photo on Instagram (@boredin.tricities) or Facebook (Bored in Tri-Cities).



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