Freezing Lightning

Photographing lightning is simultaneously exciting, frustrating, and difficult- with a large dash of luck thrown in. There are amazing lightning storms in Southeast Asia. While I am no Randy Storm or Greg Tornado of the local news, my guess is that the super humid, tropical weather has something to do with that fact. Often times the storms are far enough away to give an awesome show without actually raining on my head.

My favorite photo from the night. 

Most of the nights I was in Ko Lipe featured amazing lightning storms off in the distance over the ocean. I love to watch the lightning- the clouds bursting with light like explosions. Every so often, the weather gods bless us with a blast of electricity that is visible- not hidden by the clouds. These are the images I am trying to capture.

Getting a photo of an actual lightning strike involves planning and a whole pile of luck. The way I set up the shots is often to have the shutter open for 30 seconds- meaning I cant move the camera for 30 seconds or it will ruin the shot. Basically, I point the camera in the direction of the most recent lightning and start praying. Then of course it is very frustrating when there is a blast of light in a different direction than the camera is pointed.

But when there is a BLAST of electricity exactly where the camera is facing, I let out a “please!” and hope that the image was caught. As you can see, I did capture some really cool actual lightning strikes. There are a few that I really like, although I have to improve my storm taking skills to really be happy. Not a bad group of photos from one night of storm watching. Despite what you learned in high school, freezing lightning is possible.