An exercise in frustration

Yesterday we passed the 100 degree mark and as evening approached a bit of relief came through in the form of a storm front. I heard the thunder in the distance, so I grabbed my camera and made a dash for the countryside. I found an excellent location that was right on the fringe of the storm,and was rain free but I have never been so afraid to get out of my truck to try and set up my tripod.Lightning was flickering on three sides of my location and was literally within a few hundred yards as it repeatedly blasted down every few seconds.I watched some amazing bolts fire off right behind the farm I was at, but it was too close to even try setting up. I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and wait somewhere else,but it kept up with me,so I ended up hand holding the camera out my window for this image.

This shot is the only image I managed to capture a bolt on despite shooting 146 frames. I saw some really great bolts here as well, but I already knew trying to capture lightning this way was going to be an exercise in frustration. There were several times I had the camera on multiple frames and saw lightning hit repeatedly in one spot,but never captured a thing. Usually I try to shoot lightning when it’s just getting slightly dark and exposures range from 10-30seconds, so you have that window of time that the shutter is open to catch a bolt. trying to watch and capture a bolt at a 250th of a second in daylight is maddening. A lightning trigger would be great but they run several hundred dollars.This bolt was among the weakest all night, but it is the only one I got.

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10 responses to “An exercise in frustration

  1. that sounds awfully frustrating and not a little dangerous. I haven’t attempted lightening photography yet but at least I am now somewhat prepared for the difficulties. Nice job sticking with a really tough shooting scenario.

    • lightning success is much dependant on time you try it. at dusk when you can still see details,but you need longer exposures. also a vantage point that is not getting rain helps. good luck if you try. i usualy shoot f11 at whatever time is neded

    • thanks. I am not real dazzled with it,but its all I got. Afriend is going to try making a lightning trigger for cheap. really only needed during daylight hours.

      • We are always our biggest critics. But honestly it’s great. People try for ages to get a picture like that. I know, because I’ve tried and still don’t have a nice daylight lightning shot. But that trigger should be swell.

      • Your right. I was frustrated by the awesome lightning I saw but never captured. Its a rare chance to be in the middle of a dazzling lightning display with no rain to throw a wrench in things.I am considering shooting out my truck window in the back,but I worry about wind rocking my vehicle. Usually I would be brave enough to set up my tripod,but not this time.

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