I Got My Lightning Shot – Sort of

I got my lightning shot, sort of. The conditions were almost perfect, low light, no rain, no wind, and the storm was several kilometers away, so everything was awesome. Two problems occurred while I was setting up. First, the clouds covered a wide area. Second, the lightning was “cloud to cloud” lightning. So determining where to point the camera was the hardest problem. I used the kit lens that came with the Sony A33, which I now know was a poor choice becuase finding the focus to infinity setting was almost impossible. Then there was figuring out where the next strike of lightning was going to be.

So what I did was set the lens to its widest, and then tried to best guess the focus. None of my shots were in perfect focus. I had a short set up time, and I was doing this all in the dark. I set the camera up in Manual mode, and has the F stop at f4.5 with a 30 second exposure. I just kept clicking until I got a lightning strike. On the tenth shot I captured the shot you see above.

What I learned from all of this is, use your best wide angle lens that you can work with in manual mode. Point in the best direction, which means do not point at where the last flash of lightning occurred, just keep it aimed at the centre of storm clouds. Learn the camera becuase working with it in the dark, I wish I had taken the time to really know the buttons and controls layout and setting better.

Now, if I just had the camera pointed a little bit further down and a little bit more in focus, this shot would have been great.

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