Camera set-up for photographing lightning

Lightning Set-ups

I often get asked how I do my lightning pictures so I thought that I would take the time to show my current set-up. I have it tweaked so that it works really well. With this set-up I can shoot a storm and follow it across southern Alberta without a problem.

  • I run two cameras at a time usually set on different areas of the sky – sometimes even with different ISO, Shutter speed and aperture to get different effects
  • Camera settings (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture) will vary with the lightning
  • I like this set-up over using the tripod as it is safer and I am able to move to follow the storm easily with minimal packing
  • I also have a second vehicle for shooting from, if I am doing lightning from this unit I find a good spot and shoot the storm as it passed, it is designed to get to an area and shoot not to follow. It is a 4×4 truck and it has a camper on the back, with this I can go in the back and shoot with all the comforts of home, and more!
Canon 40D with wired remote shutter release. Works great without rain, or light rain. (For heavy rain I use the next set-up or a tripod set up under the tail gate for distant lightning). Lens usually is either a 17 – 85 or a 10 – 20 – depends on what the other camera has on.
Lightning 3
The thing I like about this vehicle is that the seat folds down and the laptop has its own table.
Lightning 2
Canon 40D with laptop and Canon capture software. Camera is on the dash so in heavy rains at night I can run the wipers to keep the window clear and I am inside in the dryness. Capture software can be set to timer mode to fire repeatedly.

Forgot to add – Shut the vehicle off when shooting, pictures will be sharper!

This is the inside of the second vehicle.  On the left past the closet door is a large window (out of this shot) that I shoot from.  I have done a number of animal pictures this way as after a few minutes the animals don’t even notice you. With photographing lightning or storms it is GREAT as I can be inside and have everything I need and more!

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