The “storm season” in Germany begins at the end of April. Sunshine results in higher temperatures, and the temperate atmospheric layers shift. This is the beginning of an exciting time for photographers – but if you want to photograph storms, you need a lot of time and patience.
The right camera setting is enormously important, and must be adjusted manually. Bolts of lightning should ideally be bright, but not over lit, and the landscape scenery should be dark and mysterious. This tutorial from our product manager Jan-Ole Schmidt tells you how to take the most beautiful photographs.
Tip 1: Use a tripod for storm photos
Every little camera shake is visible on the image, so you really must use a tripod. A remote release cord will also prevent contact with the camera, the newer camera models from Canon or Nikon can even be controlled via a smartphone app.
Tip 2: Set your camera for a long exposure time during storms
A long exposure time is necessary due to the dark background, so that the lightning reaches the sensor. The fewer forks of lightning that are visible in the sky, the longer you should set the exposure time to. Our photography expert Jan-Ole Schmidt advises an exposure time of between 10 and 30 seconds. “The 30 seconds is a maximum, otherwise the area around the lightning looks slightly ‘washed out’.”
Tip 3: Set a lower ISO value
In order to give the thunderclouds a mysterious, dark feel, the ISO value should be set as low as possible (recommendation: ISO 100). This prevents the dreaded “image noise”.
Tip 4: Pick the “sweet spot” of the aperture
Because a stormy sky is captured with a wide-angle lens, the aperture value is less important. However, the “sweet spot” for most lenses is at aperture value 8 – this is the range in which the resolution performance is the best. However, some tests are necessary to ensure that the lightning forks are not over lit when they are photographed. If the lightning is difficult to see, the aperture should be opened slightly. The formula “higher aperture value = small aperture opening” should be kept in mind.
Tip 5: Photograph forks of lightning in series of photographs
“For storm photos, a series image function is interesting because otherwise there would no opportunity to wait for the flashes of lightning”, advises WhiteWalls expert Jan-Ole Schmidt. Because you cannot determine the exact point in time the lightning will flash at, you should take as many pictures as possible.
Tip 6: Photographing storms in daylight
If you would like to photograph a storm during the day, you should adjust your settings, because the long exposure time recommended above would result in overlighting. Tip: A gray-colored neutral density filter will inhibit daylight and make a longer shutter speed possible.
Tip 7: Present the storm in HD
A photo on acrylic glass as an ultraHD print is very suitable for storm images. Compared to classic photos, ultraHD prints provide significantly better sharpness in the fine details of the image around the lightning. WhiteWall optimizes the image using software and uses a new lighting process with solid-state lasers in order to achieve the highest quality in all areas of the image.