Strike It Lucky

Moving into summer I think it is appropriate to give some pointers on capturing some of nature’s fireworks. Thunderstorms in the bush leave a person stunned at the amazing lightshows that are followed by the low rumbling of thunder. Being able to capture these strikes of lightening can make a beautiful photograph.

what you going to need:

  • Wide angle lens
  • Tripod
  • Time

The reason for the time is that you are going to have to take a lot of test images before you are happy with the exposure you are getting and then it is all about taking as many photos as you can so that you increase your chances of catching an extravagant bolt or numerous bolts in the same photo.


For this photo, I first set my shutter speed to 30 seconds to ensure enough time to capture the bolts. Secondly, I set my aperture to f6.3 to allow for a bit more depth of field so that both my subject (in this case a tree) and the distant clouds and lightening were in focus. I also set my ISO to 1250 to ensure that I had compensated sufficiently for the light lost, by stopping down to f6.3.

The other thing I did to ensure that I had more than one bolt in the photo was to use a function on my Nikon D600 called multiple exposure – to take 3 photos which the camera then blends into one photo. Therefore I had effectively 1 minute 30 seconds worth of exposure without creating too much noise. My lens of choice was the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8, which is an amazing piece of glass. From here it was a matter of patience and luck so as to get as much lightening as possible with great definition in the clouds and the tree nicely silhouetted.

Expose your balance

Richard de Gouveia

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