Picking Your Location
Capturing lightning can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating photography skills to learn. It takes a lot of patience and a few techniques that you should master before you try capturing that lightning storm of storms.
First of all, you need to pick a location where you can go that will allow you to have a clear view of the sky without obstructions. You should also have minimal interference from city lights. Lights from the city will dull the intensity of lightning. Also, find a place where you will have some type of coverage from rain. A building or overhang would work nicely.
Secondly, you need to find a place that will allow you to have as much protection as possible. Lightning storms are dangerous, but you can take precautions that will diminish your chances of being hurt or killed. Stay away from metal, including power lines, and water sources. Try to avoid being the highest item in a clearing. Lightning tends to strike the tallest thing in a landscape so don’t be it. Also, avoid being too near trees for the same reason. You should also steer clear of electrical equipment indoors, including the telephone.
Next, you need to pay attention to weather reports. If you live in an area where frequent afternoon storms are common, set up in your location right before that optimal time of day. Summer can produce some dramatic storms so just keep your ear to the news. Storms producing cloud to ground lightning (lightning that strikes the ground) in isolated thunderstorms or super cells (which can be very dangerous) produce some dramatic pictures. Lightning obscured by rain or fog, or thunderstorms that are extremely far away produce less dramatic photographs.
Photo by Jared Smith