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Saved by B&W (192) | by frank3.0
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Saved by B&W (192)

I wish I could say that my cat-like reflexes enabled me to capture this bolt of lightning preceding a Louisiana, summer thunderstorm. But, that would be a lie. I recently purchased an AEO Photographic Trigger's Lightning Strike II. In the simplest terms it takes a reading of ambient light conditions and fires the camera when it senses variation in that baseline light. All this is done in micro-seconds so, as long as your camera is properly adjusted and facing the right direction, you can take pictures of lightning.

 

The settings you should normally use to photograph lightning during the day (to say nothing of the night) are kind of tricky and counterintuitive. I won't get into the details right now. I think I'll save that for after I have used the trigger a bit more and gotten some better examples to post. In the meantime, here is a shot taken from my back deck as a storm was moving across town from the east at about 6PM yesterday. It is no great shakes as lightning photos go and really is only passible as an image once converted to black and white.

 

As is so often the case, you can save a so-so or even bad color photo by converting it to black and white. The contrast in B&W seems to speak to the human sense of aesthetics. Or, maybe we are just used to thinking of black and white as more artistic. Whatever the reason, I don't convert many of my shots to black and white because a little voice in my head always says, "You're only doing that because you couldn't get it right in color." Some folks may rankle at this observation, but I think it is much harder to take a good color picture than a good black and white one. But, with all those excuses out of the way, I still like how this one came out. There is an undeniable grandeur to a thunderstorm. In the future, I think this lighting trigger will help me capture some of that grandeur, if only I can keep my camera dry longer enough to get the shot... and I don't get struck by lighting first.

 

Check out more at my blog, Lemons and Beans, for lots of photos, recipes, travel writing and other ramblings. I appreciate any feedback but, please do not post graphic awards or invitations in the comments, I'm just not crazy about them. Also, if you want to use any of my Commercial Commons licensed photos please link the attribution back to my blog (listed above) and use my full name, Frank McMains. Thanks! Sorry, but you have to pay to use fully copyright protected photos.

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Taken on July 12, 2011