Catching Lightning in a Camera

We had some pretty violent thunderstorms over the weekend and then, to a lesser extent, Monday. There were reports of hail and gusty winds and at least one house struck by lightning (a strike that melted glass lightbulbs and started a fire which gutted the basement).

As a photographer, I grab my camera every time there’s a thunderstorm in the area. I did Sunday, standing in the garage, under cover, shooting out the open door.

There is a fairly simple technique for shooting lightning. First, it helps if it’s dark outside. You have to manually set the camera for a very long shutter time – put it on a tripod or something steady – point in the direction you expect lightning – and then hope for the best.

It’s never worked for me. But, I continue to try.

On Sunday, the technique worked for Mark Schumacher of Southington. He caught this amazing photo while looking toward New Britain (basically northeast). It is, perhaps, the best Connecticut lightning shot I’ve ever seen.

Now I’ve got incentive to try even harder.

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