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creative weddles and Storm Photography

Well first off i have no clue what a weddle is I think i picked it up from my kid I am pretty sure that's what she called puddles when she was little....

Storms we all love them or hate them, I have since i could remember loved them, every kid on this planet has sat somewhere and just been in awe of watching the clouds go from puffy cotton balls to raging monsters roaring through the heavens.

Over the past year I have spent countless hours finding myself in places that many would deem “the middle of nowhere.” not just looking over the horizon trying to figure out if i was in the right place but just watching a storm come in.  

Here is the basic setup I use when I photograph nighttime lightning: Nikon D610 body, any lens will work, but the wider the lens, the better your opportunity to catch a bolt,  tripod, and a cable release. Now the most frequent line I hear when talking about lightning photography with people is, “You have to be fast.” In fact, it’s just the opposite, I’m slow. My typical exposure time for lightning photography at night is 20-30 seconds, with an aperture of around f/8, and an ISO of around 400. You may think that’s not much light for night photography, but in reality the lightning bolts basically super strobes, so that is what you are exposing for. The light from the lightning bolt will actually help fill any foreground in your frame.Obviously these settings are not set in stone. You will have to tweak your settings depending on how much “in-cloud” lightning there is and ambient light from cities.

In-cloud lightning is just that, all it does is wash out your sky creating a white sky, AKA: boring. If you find your storm having a lot of in-cloud lightning, try shorter exposures, perhaps around 10-15 seconds. There are also devices called lightning triggers too that can help you photograph lightning, never have used one 

While photographing lightning, it is extremely important to protect yourself just in case one of those bolts finds you. The best advice I can give is to quickly set up your camera gear outside your vehicle, or some kind of shelter house. Just remember you are much safer inside your vehicle than outside if a bolt does strike nearby. Also, there are company's that make window mounts which eliminates you having to leave your vehicle at all. 

All in all it is extremely exhilarating to be in the presence of storms and photographing them is quite tricky as well as rewarding 

Jeremy Fulk