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How Do Blue Lightning | by michael.veltman
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How Do Blue Lightning

Ok, so you are at home reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey when the room explodes in a brilliant flash of white light. It isn't the end, just a little storm. Don't panic, simply:


1. Replace your bookmark and gently lay the book on the end table.

2. Grab your camera and tripod.

3. Go to a room on the leeward side of your house. This accomplishes two things. First, because you are moving to the side of the house that the storm is moving away from - it gives you more time to get set up. Second, it reduces the amount of rain splashing in on you and your gear.

4. Set up your camera on the tripod: focus on infinity and set for long exposure.

5. Open up the window enough to clear your camera and pop out the screen if there is one.

6. Turn off the lights and shut the door. This reduces invitations to bugs seeking refuge.

7. Shoot like a mad crazy person until the storm is gone.


Unfortunately, I don't have any technical advice. I set the camera to autopic. I have tried anywhere from five second exposure to thirty second. The only difference between the two is how many times I push the button. For editing: I didn't too much to this image. I cropped it and I switched it to cyanotype in photoshop. All of my lightning images have a purple mood to them and was looking for something bluer.


This was spurred on by Derecho Lightning which was very well received. I only see fail when I look at that image though. The lightning was literally twenty times as much as what was captured. The whole sky was light up. Twice and I missed it both times. Determined to get a better lightning capture - when I saw this storm I grabbed my stuff and ran outside. Only to be instantly and completely drenched. It turns out that lightning is often occampanied by massive amounts of rain. Dripping and dejected, but still determined, my mind raced for a solution to my dilemma. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning.


(Ok, ok, enough - that last line was even too much for me)


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Taken on July 18, 2012