Contender: David Drost

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Copyright © Dave Drost

Photographer:
Dave Drost

Where are you based?
Prescott, Arizona

When did you take the photograph?
July 31, 2012 at 5:09 PM

What equipment did you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-105mm L lens, lightning trigger purchased from Stepping Stone Products

Please describe how you got this photo.
This photo was taken from Ashton point looking out over Gunsight Butte. To get there one has to travel using a 4WD over 25 miles of dirt road. Sometimes this road is un-passable during heavy rains, as one has to cross over washes.

On this day that I took this photo I was looking ahead at the weather and I new thunderclouds would form over the area. A friend and I drove out that morning to the lake and waited. Here we were up on the Ashton Point on the edge looking out over the lake. We saw the sky darken out past the lake. The wind started to pick up. The storm started moving toward us, getting closer and closer. Lightning started to flash. With my camera on the tripod I set it at f/5.6 for 1/20 of a second, ISO 50 with the lightning trigger placed on the hot shoe. Soon, lightning was going off everywhere and my lightning triggered camera was to. Immediately after catching many images with lightning, all heck broke loose. Rain, wind, and lightning were all around us. We could feel the electric in the air. The force of the wind became so intense that I had to run for cover in the car and move my 4WD into the wind for fear of the vehicle blowing over. It was the beginning of a long, long night.

{loadposition inpage} Did you use any special techniques?
With a lightning trigger on the camera, one doesn’t have to be handling the camera to get the shot during a lightning storm (as long as their isn’t much wind). All you need to do is put your camera on the tripod, attach the trigger to the hot shoe and connect one cable. Put the camera on manual with approximate settings of f/5.6, 1/15 of a second ISO of 50 or 100.

Unlike shooting lightning at night when one can use the bulb mode on the camera and keep the shutter open a long time to catch lightning or getting lucky with a shutter speed of a few seconds, during the day you can’t do that because the image would be overexposed with long shutter speeds. But with a lightning trigger, it senses the lightning on the lightning’s return pulse and triggers the camera’s shutter, which then takes the picture. So with the lightning trigger one can use a fast shutter speed and catch the lightning.

See more of Dave Drost’s photography at tothewestphotography.com.

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