Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My first try to freeze lightning

There was a sudden thunderstorm over Bued River a few nights ago, and I took the opportunity to practice my first lightning shots. Being a newbie at this subject, I initially dialed in exposure parameters of f/11 (for more DOF), ISO 100 (for least noise) and 30 sec (to cast a wider exposure net), thinking that lightning was supposed to be blindingly bright. 

However, the lightning bolts were registering too dark in my first attempts even down to f/5.6, and I had to open up to f/4 to get the sky exposure I want. In the image below, focus was on the cement silos - luckily, the near gravel mound and the lightning bolts in the far distance turned out to be decently sharp at the pixel level, kudos to the amazing optics of the EF 16-35 f/4 L IS.

To give us a sense of scale, the three cement silos are over 20 meters high from the ground (6 storeys high), not including the lightning arrester.

Imaging this heavenly phenomenon simply involves framing the dark scene consistent with good composition, and leaving enough space for the sky which becomes the blank canvas for the lightning formation. Then,  the shutter is opened over a 30 second period, with the fervent hope that something very interesting happens within that time window.

Similar to what Forrest Gump said, lightning photography is like a box of chocolates - you'll never know what you'll get, at least until you can review the shot through the camera's LCD. For the vast majority of the frames I took, there was no lightning captured, only dark skies.

Looks like I'm getting hooked on this thing and might be inspired enough to chase thunderstorms more often (with better foreground) in the future.


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, August 17, 2015, Canon 5D MIII + EF 16-35 f/4 L IS, 16 mm, f/4, ISO 100, 30 sec,
manual exposure in available light, tripod/gear head, near full frame resized to 800 x 533 pixels.

2 comments:

Tina Mallari said...

Awesome shot Romy !!!!!

Romy Ocon said...

Thanks, Tina..... nice to see you drop by. :)

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