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The Complete Guide to Lightning Types and Classifications

The Complete Guide to Lightning Types and Classifications

Lightning is one of the most astonishing natural phenomena. It’s a powerful electrical discharge that happened during rain or a thunderstorm. It looks beautiful, but it can be very dangerous occasionally. When it happens, it can heat the air to 30,000 degrees Celsius, which is five to six times hotter than the surface of the sun. Not only this, each bolt of lightning can contain up to one billion volts of electricity. Every second, around 80-90 lightning bolts strike on earth.

In this article, we’ll discuss types of lightning and how to take beautiful pictures of it.

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Lightning Types and Classifications:

Negative Cloud-to-Ground Lightning:

Negative cloud-to-ground lightning is the most common lightning flash. It happens between a negatively charged thundercloud and the positively charged surface of the earth. Lightning channels usually develop from the cloud to the ground, for a fraction of a second.

This form of lightning is most common as well as most dangerous and can cause fire and property damage. It can take on many visual forms.

Ribbon lightning is a form of negative cloud-to-ground lightning, in which successive strokes are displaced from each other by wind, resulting in a broadened, ribbon-like appearance.

Bead lightning is also a form of negative cloud-to-ground lightning, where the luminosity appears to break up into a string of short, bright sections resembling a string of beads.

Negative Cloud-to-Ground Lightning:

Positive Cloud-to-Ground Lightning:

Positive cloud-to-ground lightning is the opposite of negative cloud-to-ground lightning. It happens when a positive charge builds up at the top of the cloud. It’s very rare but very deadly. Positive cloud-to-ground lightning strikes are often very bright and thunders from such lightning are very loud.

Cloud-to-Air Lightning:

It happens when the air around a positively charged cloud reaches out to the negatively charged air around it. In this lightning, the lightning bolts couldn’t reach the ground and cease in midair. It also happens during cloud-to-ground lightning in form of branches.

Positive Cloud-to-Ground Lightning

Ground-to-Cloud Lightning:

It’s an upward movement of lightning, and it can be both negative and positive in polarity. ​It usually happens near skyscrapers and very tall buildings.

Cloud-to-Air Lightning

Intra Cloud Lightning:

This is a common type of lightning, and it happens inside the same cloud which has different charges. It is easy for lightning to travel small distances between different areas of the cloud. It’s also called sheet lightning because it looks like a sheet of light in the sky.

Intra Cloud Lightning

Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning:

Cloud-to-cloud lightning is also called inter-cloud lightning. It happens when lightning strikes between two oppositely charged sections of different clouds and the strike travel in the air between them. Don’t confuse it with intra-cloud lightning, where lightning happens inside a single cloud.

Now we know about types of lightning, let’s talk about lightning photography. Lightning photography is not an easy task, as light strikes for a fraction of a second, and you don’t know when and where it’s going to happen. So, no matter how fast you click the shutter after seeing a lightning bolt, you’ll miss it for sure.

Fortunately, we have a camera gadget called MIOPS Smart+ that can take lightning photos for you with the least effort from your side. It has a lightning mode that detects the lightning and clicks the picture automatically. Now we’ll talk about how to use MIOPS Smart+ to take lightning pictures.

Find the location:

First, you need to find one or two locations for lightning photography. If you take a picture of the only sky with lightning, it won't look good. You need an interesting foreground too. So find a few places in advance that have open sky and some beautiful foreground elements like a tree or buildings or mountains. Make sure that it also has a shade for you so you can keep your camera safe from rain. Always try to avoid distractions like electric poles and wires in the frame.

Find the location

Keep an eye on the weather channel:

After finding a location, follow weather channels, so you know about the upcoming storm in advance, and you can reach the location on time. Always wear light clothes, and keep some essentials like water, snacks, coffee, a folding chair, dry clothes to wipe the camera, and something to cover you and your expensive gear.

Setup:

Once you reach there, set your camera on a tripod and set the frame. A wide angle or a standard lens is ideal for lightning photography. First set the camera on manual mode, set ISO to 100, aperture to f/11, and shutter speed to 1/200. These are starting settings, and we’ll fine-tune them after taking some test shots.

Keep an eye on the weather channel

Now attach MIOPS Smart+ to the camera and attach the cable. Set the mode to “Lightning” and sensitivity to 1 or 2%. Now focus on the foreground and set the camera to manual focus. Since we are using a wide-angle lens and narrow aperture, the sky will be in focus automatically. If the foreground element is very near to the camera, set focus to the center of the foreground and sky.

Lightning

Shoot:

Once everything is set up, just sit and wait for the lightning bolt. When it happens, MIOPS Smart+ will trigger the camera and take the picture. If it’s not happening, increase the sensitivity a bit. When you get your first shot, take a look, and now we’ll modify the camera settings accordingly. We’ll check exposure for both lightning and foreground.

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If lightning is very bright, narrow down the aperture to f/16. If lightning is underexposed, we can either open the aperture or increase the ISO. In such a case, my preference would be to increase ISO, as opening up the aperture will result in a shallow depth of field.

Lightning Types and Classifications

If the foreground element is underexposed, decrease the shutter speed to 1/100 or lower. In case of overexposed foreground, increase shutter speed accordingly. Playing with shutter speed will not affect lightning, as it strikes for a fraction of a second.

Once everything is set, enjoy your coffee with a wonderful view while the MIOPS trigger will click pictures for you. After a few shots, you may change the frame for different pictures. You may also stack multiple images in post-processing to show multiple lightning in a single shot.

MIOPS Smart+ will trigger the camera and take the picture

Now you know everything about lightning and how to shoot it. Be prepared and get some outstanding shots during the next thunderstorm. All the best.​


About the Author

Ramakant Sharda is an author, iOS App publisher, passionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo: Catatumbo Lightning

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo: Catatumbo Lightning

Beginner and professional photographers who have developed a deep fascination for lightning photography understand the joys and struggles of conquering this thrilling yet challenging genre. Taking a great picture of a lightning strike is an accomplishment for any photographer, and Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela offers one of the most extraordinary locations for lightning photography.

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Why do photographers love photographing lightning?

Lightning is an unpredictable subject and its unpredictability provides opportunities to capture unique images. However, the same uncertainty also presents obstacles that can only be overcome with preparation, having the right camera equipment, and most importantly, luck. 

Most importantly, lightning photographers have to find the perfect locations where they can discover lightning events for great photo opportunities. Identifying these places require good research and patience. Chasing these lightning storms also needs careful planning and attention to weather reports and the know-how to read storm maps and other lightning guide maps. 

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

Luckily for photographers living or vacationing in Venezuela, they know exactly where to go: Lake Maracaibo. 

Venezuelan photographers and even international adventure photographers who know very well about Venezuela’s lightning storms are probably some of the luckiest lightning photographers out there!

Why is Lake Maracaibo a favorite setting for lightning photographers?

Located in the northwestern part of Venezuela, Lake Maracaibo is one of the city’s most important seaports. Its nearby metropolitan area is occupied by over 3,7000 million inhabitants. 

While the region has a lot to offer in terms of culture and traditions, its main attraction is actually one of the most unique in the world: its weather. 

Maracaibo is most popular for its lightning thunderstorms. Its nighttime thunderstorms offer a spectacular view, with 28 lightning strikes per minute, and 230 lightning strikes painting the night sky every 0.3 square miles, for 160 storm nights a year! In fact, the lightning hotspot is a Guinness World Record holder as the Lightning Capital of the World for the highest concentration of lightning strikes. 

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

Lake Maracaibo Catatumbo lightning photography experts and enthusiasts are witnesses to the region’s perpetual lightning displays. While the view is a source of wonder and mystery for some, there is a scientific explanation for this nightly event.

How are bolts of lightning created in Maracaibo?

According to meteorologists, these exhibitions of lights are only possible because of the region’s unique geography in combination with its climate. Additionally, these displays only form at night because of the drop in temperature.  

When the cool air from the nearby Andes Mountain meets Maracaibo Lake’s warm and moist air accumulated during the day, the clash in temperature triggers the formation of lightning strikes and electrical discharges. 

The lightning display is so outstanding and constant that sailors from as far back as 1826 have used the location to navigate the seas. It is so popular that it even got special titles, such as “The Lighthouse,” “The Beacon of Maracaibo,” and “The Everlasting Storm.” 

The center of this magical light show is where Lake Maracaibo meets the Catatumbo River. This river is a favorite lightning photography spot and Catatumbo River Lightning images are some of the most popular and unique ones among the high-speed photography community.

What makes Catatumbo lightning different from other lightning events?

So what’s the big deal? Why are lightning images from Maracaibo and its neighbor river Catatumbo so different from other lightning photos taken in other locations? Make makes the Catatumbo lightning special? Why should photographing these lightning strikes be on your bucket list as a photographer?

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo 

For one, how these lightning strikes are created seems to be caused by a grand, pre-determined design. The factors are perfectly placed as if they were meant to be there. But we know how unpredictable nature is that there’s a one-in-a-million chance that the same thing can happen in other parts of the world. 

There are several factors that make these mesmerizing events take place in Catatumbo and Maracaibo. These include the local climate and the season, geographical and topographical characteristics of the region, and lastly, the levels of moisture and air in the area. 

1.  Local Climate and Seasonal Change

During the long summer days, the heat of the sun allows the water from the lake to evaporate. This moisture is boosted by the Caribbean sea’s eternally warm waters. Just the presence of moisture in the air triggers constant storms around the area.

2.  Geographic and Topographic Features

As mentioned earlier, the nearby Anders Mountain Range contributes to the unique formation of lighting above Catatumbo and Maracaibo. The mountain range runs across the river and covers three sides of the lake. This setup restricts the warm air from escaping northwards. 

3.  Imbalances of Cool Air and Warm Moisture

Then, the cool air from these ridges, especially at night when the temperature drops even lower, is blown to meet the rising warm air. This clash forms a dance that allows a beautiful formation of cumulonimbus clouds that will eventually serve as the birthplace of the much-awaited evening spectacle. 

The resulting storm cloud forms a thick and towering structure of air and moisture in the sky, providing an ideal venue for lightning formation. The imbalance of hot air and cold air, in the form of colliding warm water droplets and ice crystals, finally creates static charges. 

These static charges are so strong that they have enough power to light up hundreds of millions of lightbulbs. The same power fuels the seemingly perpetual lightning display that made this location so famous all over the world. 

Remember that these factors are so specific that these conditions are only met during specific months of the year. This leads us to the next question:

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

When is the best time to photograph lightning in Catatumbo and Maracaibo?

According to meteorologists and experienced lightning photographers who successfully made the journey to the region, the best time to visit the location is during Venezuela’s wet season, from April to November, lasting for 140 to 160 nights annually. However, locals suggest that the best month is October. 

October is the best month to visit Catatumbo since it is when the region produces the highest concentrations and frequencies of lightning. According to records, you can observe 28 lightning events per minute during the same month.

How can MIOPS Smart+ help you capture the best photos of the Maracaibo and Catatumbo lightning strikes?

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The MIOPS is a great camera trigger for both beginner and professional photographers. Smart devices add much more value to the user experience, enabling automation of detailed processes and freeing you to focus on the creative aspects of your shoot. The MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger is controlled with a user interface and has a variety of modes.

The Lightning Mode uses a light sensor to detect split-second lightning strikes and trigger the shutter automatically, so there’s no need to rely on luck for a perfectly timed shot. Using the intuitive dedicated app, you can control the MIOPS Smart+ settings from a safe distance and easily make adjustments to the light sensor’s sensitivity.

How Does MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger Work as Remote Trigger for Lightning Photography?

Like other smart connected devices, the MIOPS Smart+ can be controlled remotely via Bluetooth. Although the MIOPS Smart+ can also be operated as a standalone device, the MIOPS mobile app will allow you to configure your camera’s ISO, exposure value, and aperture. After reviewing each image, making adjustments to your camera settings will be quick and easy!

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

What are the Camera Settings for Lightning Photography?

Typically, the best camera setting to use when photographing lightning is to shoot through Manual Mode. As mentioned earlier, you can use a lightning camera trigger like MIOPS Smart+ on cameras with a manual mode, so you can easily adjust your main camera settings. 

There are no fixed camera settings for events as unpredictable as lightning strikes, so make sure you know your camera well. Knowing your photography basics can help you make the right adjustments that fit your subject, background, foreground, and overall location. Trust your experience!

1.  ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed

For capturing lightning photos, start with an aperture of f/5.6 and an ISO of 100. Since you’re using a remote trigger to activate your camera’s shutter, you don’t have to worry about adjusting your shutter speed. 

Your camera settings when taking photos of lightning should depend on the available light source in the area. Remember that you are photographing the Venezuela lightning storms in Maracaibo and Catatumbo. The lightning events are consistent and endless! It means that the night sky will be as bright as day. This can present a challenge. 

When photographing lightning strikes in Lake Maracaibo and Catatumbo River, expect an extremely bright night sky. Your ISO and aperture should be adjusted to let in just enough light to capture the lightning strikes but should have the right value to not overexpose the shot. 

2.  Remote Trigger Automatic Camera Settings

However, if you’re using MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger, you don’t have to worry about starting from scratch. You don’t also have to rely on a trial-and-error method just to get the settings right. MIOPS’ intuitive sensors can help you.

 The remote camera trigger, through the MIOPS Smart+ mobile application, automatically suggests and adjusts your camera’s aperture, ISO, and exposure values, on top of other necessary settings to capture lightning events as specific as Catatumbo lightning strikes.

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

3.  Composition and Framing

The shutter speed should also be fast enough to capture the lightning strikes that you can focus on. While you have an infinite number of chances to capture lightning photos, don’t just point your camera everywhere! 

Study the photo opportunities in front of you and find a good way to compose your shot. Add context and don’t just focus on the streaks of light. Add a portion of the storm clouds as the lightning’s point of origin. Include an area where the river or the lake meets the strike. 

How Can You Prepare for a Lightning Photo Shoot Catatumbo Lightning in Venezuela?

Just like any other lightning photography session, you have to make the necessary preparations, especially if you’re going to a location known for its extreme lightning events. Typical lightning storms are dangerous enough, so imagine the level of risks that you might face in the world-famous lightning capital. 

If you want to have the best time and capture the best lightning photos, you have to fully prepare. So what are the things that you need to do before setting out on a journey to the great Catatumbo and Maracaibo? 

Here is a three-point list that might help you get ready.

1. Plan and research the setting and weather.

Whether you’re coming from Venezuela or another part of the world, you have to carefully plan your trip to the tiniest details. The most important part, of course, is to read everything you can about the country, and most specifically, Catatumbo and Maracaibo. 

Aside from planning the trip according to the months we suggested earlier, which is from April to November, know the logistics of the trip. From transportation, accommodation, and how to get there, to local ordinances and environmental rules that you must adhere to, make sure to check them out before booking your flight.

2.  Ask the right questions from the right people.

One of the best pieces of advice that you can get from professional photographers is this: ask questions. Not just any question, though - ask the right questions. Additionally, make sure that you’re asking the right people. 

Ask photographers who have already been to the region. They might have some pro tips that can make things easier even for beginners. 

You can also go to online forums where you can find questions and answers to the most specific questions about Catatumbo lightning photography. 

You can also rely on books and news articles that talk about the region.

Lightning Photography in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo

3.  Complete your camera equipment.

Earlier, we discussed the needed camera settings and camera accessories, like a remote camera trigger that you need to photograph lightning. 

Aside from these essentials, make sure you have a trusty tripod with you, extra batteries in case you’ll be outdoors for hours, a zoom lens and other applicable lenses, and most importantly, weather-proofing equipment to protect your camera gear.

Having reliable camera equipment and extras will help you have the time and resources to make your trip a success. Faulty equipment and low-quality gears can restrict and limit your chances of getting that once-in-a-lifetime and award-winning image. 

With your complete camera equipment and MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger’s smart and intuitive technology, trust that your preparation and everything you’ve been through to get to this record-breaking lightning hotspot will be all worth it.

Good luck and have fun!

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Blog Credit: Charm Villalon

Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.

How to Photographing Lightning

How to Photographing Lightning

Chasing Thunderstorms and Photographing Lightning

Photographing lightning can be one of the most unpredictable yet also one of the most rewarding photographic endeavors. The effect that a lightning flash makes on a photograph definitely leaves a highly electrifying impact (pun intended). When and where lightning will exactly strike is almost impossible to predict but through patterns of occurrence, lightning density trends, and the general weather forecast, there are various ways through which you can increase your chances of being able to photograph lightning. In this article, let’s talk about some of the best points for lightning photography.

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Chasing Thunderstorms and Photographing Lightning

How and Where

A lightning pulse is a result of charge differences between one surface and another. Lightning can happen from one cloud to another or from one cloud to the ground. This happens when particles within the clouds move and collide with each other at a rapid rate which results in an electric gradient against another cloud or the ground. As this difference in charge builds up, the potential increases as the system seeks to neutralize this difference. The air between the two opposing sides act as an insulator until the insulating capacity breaks and a rapid discharge of electricity occurs to transfer the energy and reach electrical equilibrium.

How Lightning Happens

*Prepare for Lightning, https://www.wunderground.com/prepare/lightning

Lightning and thunderstorms can happen anywhere however there are particular regions have them more common and can be considered the best lighting photography places. Lightning happens commonly when there is unstable atmosphere, moisture, and abundance of warmth on the ground. This is why generally more tropical regions commonly get more thunderstorms. In the United States, Texas leads with the most number of lightning pulses in the year 2020 and various years before that, but Florida leads with a higher percentage of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes probably because of its more humid tropical climate. In Australia, the Western Top End and North Kimberly regions have shown to be more active when it comes to thunderstorms and lightning which makes these areas the best lightning photography places.

Where Lightning Happens

*2021 U.S. Lightning Report Recording, https://www.earthnetworks.com/

Spring and summer are generally considered lightning season for lightning photography as the frequency of thunderstorms happen more during these times. Autumn and winter generally get less but it is not impossible to happen. All these data and trends can be of help when preparing to photograph lightning.

Chasing the Storm 

Being successful in doing lightning photography means being at the right place at the right time and also not being at the wrong place at the right time. Planning is the most crucial part of this creative process because lightning can be so elusive to photograph and you can never be caught wasting time and making mistakes. It’s not everyday that lightning happens in multiple continuous pulses generally happening in the same area enough for you to adjust to it. This is why finding the best points for lightning photography right as the storm starts is your biggest priority. 

Chasing the Storm Lightning Photography

To find the spots where it will happen, there are various websites and apps that have real-time lightning and thunderstorm tracking that can guide you in finding an advantageous and safe vantage point to photograph the storm. These are apps such as Spark, Blitzortung Lightning Monitor, and My Lightning Tracker and websites such as LightningMaps.org and EarthNetworks.com. By using this information you can find a spot to shoot and even find foreground  elements advantageous for your composition. Lightning tends to hit taller structures so being able to keep skyscrapers (in the city) and trees (in open areas) within the frame increases your chances of being able to capture the lightning strike. However it is important also to consider that you should have significant distance from such to ensure your safety. 

Lightning Photography Nicco Valenzuela

Camera Settings for Lightning Photography 

Photographing lightning requires a few considerations about the scenario to be able to determine the right camera settings. While it is possible to photograph lightning during the day, it is obviously more visible when the sky behind it is relatively dark. Much of the impact that photographs of lightning make comes from how it illuminates the clouds surrounding it especially when the lightning pulse goes from a cloud to another cloud. Taking photographs of lightning is best done at night and during twilight when the sky is dark enough for the lightning strike to stand out. 

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Since you will be working with a relatively dim environment, it is necessary to shoot relatively long exposures and this will also be generally beneficial in increasing your chances of capturing the split-second lightning strikes. However, it is important to also limit the length of the exposure to make sure that the strikes are visible. Given those considerations, it is best to take 6-10 second exposures that will help you capture any and all lightning strikes that will happen within that period. At the same time, the exposure won’t be too long that the luminosity of other elements in frame will cancel out the bright but brief flash of light. To be able to do this, it is imperative to use a relatively small aperture such as f/8 or f/11 to prevent getting blown out exposures and at the same time ensure that both the sky and the ground elements are in-focus and clear. ISO can be relatively flexible but the goal is to keep it at a minimum since the flash of light from the lightning strike is much brighter than the luminosity of the scenario when there are is no lightning.

Camera Settings for Lightning Photography

Essential Camera Gear for Lightning Photography 

The camera gear and support gear to be used in photographing lightning play a key role in the success of the endeavor. Since this involves catching and photographing an elusive phenomenon that only happens in fractions of a second, it is important that the gear being used is reliable and can very well adapt to the situation. 

Cameras with high resolution sensors and good low light performance offer a certain advantage especially if the goal is to produce large prints or if there is a need for significant cropping. However the more crucial aspect about the camera of choice is the availability of manual controls. It is important for the photographer to be able to set the exposure settings with a certain level of precision to be able to capture the scene better. The choice of lenses depend entirely on the distance of the photographer from the storm which means that shooting from within the area requires a wider lens, and shooting the storm from afar necessitates a telephoto lens. The goal is to fill the frame with the lightning and the ground elements to be able to give it the emphasis and attention that it deserves. 

Shooting A Storm-lapse

Since shooting involves long exposures, stable support gear are an absolute requirement. The choice of tripod should focus on one that is stable and can keep the camera still even with a bit of wind that usually comes with the storm. Both the gear and the tripod should also be able to withstand a bit of rain since precipitation commonly accompanies thunderstorms. Heavier downpours will either require a rain cover, that is if the rain does not hinder visibility of the clouds and of the lightning strikes. 

To make the process much easier and automated, a dedicated lightning photography trigger makes all the difference.

Using A Lightning Photography Trigger 

Lightning photography triggers make the process of shooting automated. There are various approaches to photographing lightning and the most basic one is doing so manually while hoping that lightning happens within the exposure time. Another way is to use an intervalometer to keep the camera shooting consecutive exposures whether or not lightning happens. 

Lightning Photography by MIOPS Smart Trigger

*Instagram: @baseballsizedhail

Using a smart camera remote trigger like the MIOPS Smart+ gives you the automation of a lightning trigger and many more. The Smart+ can be used for long exposures, time-lapse, HDR, special effects, star trails, and night photography in general. For photographing lightning, the MIOPS Smart+ is equipped with a light sensor that scans the scene for flashes of light that typically happens during a lightning strike. You can set the threshold level of sensitivity depending on the intensity of lightning flashes that you want to capture. When the sensor detects a sudden flash of light that is enough to hit the threshold, it triggers the camera to start an exposure. This way your camera is not simply shooting blindly and wasting exposures on shots wherein no lightning happened but instead giving you only photos wherein lightning actually struck. This doesn’t only automate the process of photographing lightning but also helps lessen the number of shots wasted while waiting for something spectacular. 

Shooting A Storm-lapse 

To better capture how the thunderstorm starts and progresses, shooting a time-lapse is a great option. Since doing interval shooting is one approach to shooting lightning, it requires exactly the same process to produce a time-lapse. Capturing consecutive exposures and compiling them into a video clip allows you to compress the time into a video clip that shows the changes in the environment that would otherwise be too slow to appreciate in real time. If the frequency of lightning pulses is significantly high, the option of using Storm-lapse mode on the Smart+ combines the automation of using the lightning sensor as the camera trigger and the process of producing consecutive exposures together that gives you a collection only of photos wherein lightning struck that can either be used as individual stills, combined into a more encompassing multiple exposure composite image, or to produce a highly dynamic time-lapse sequence of the thunderstorm. 

Photographing lightning is a combination of luck, good planning, and preparation. The creative process can be quite a gamble given all the uncertainties surrounding the environment as well as the physical risk of being out during a storm, but when done successfully and with artistic intent, it can result to some of the most impactful and dynamic outdoor photographs that you will ever take. 

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Blog Credit: Nicco Valenzuela

Nicco started his photographic journey in 2007 practicing the craft as a hobby. Currently, he shoots for various local and international architectural firms and construction companies. Out of his love for sharing his knowledge, Nicco began writing about photography and various pieces of gear.

The Essential Guide to Cityscape Lightning Photography

The Essential Guide to Cityscape Lightning Photography

Lightning photography is the most challenging photography genre for photographers. Lightning is unpredictable, and you don’t know when and where it will strike. It happens for a fraction of seconds, and before you can click the shutter, it disappears. In this article, we will overcome all the challenges in lightning cityscape photography. So, shall we start?

Gears you required:

Let’s talk about the gears you require for this photography. First, you need a camera. Any DSLR or mirrorless camera will work. If you have a full-frame camera, it would be better because it gives better results in low light conditions. A wide-angle lens is the second requirement because lightning bolts are enormous, and we also want to capture city buildings. Any wide-angle lens you have will work fine.

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The third requirement is a tripod because lightning photography needs lots of time, and we can’t hold the camera for such a long time. It should be sturdy as there may be heavy winds during the storm, and a light tripod can fall and damage your expensive gears.

And lastly, you need a lightning trigger. A lightning trigger is a camera remote that clicks the lightning pictures automatically. MIOPS Smart is the best camera remote to capture lightning. It has a laser mode that detects lightning and clicks the image at the right moment. You have almost zero chances of missing the shot with this lightning trigger.

gears required for lightning photography

Some of you may be thinking that why can’t we use the sound mode of the camera remote to capture lightning. The reason behind it is that the speed of sound is much slower than the speed of light, and by using the sound mode, you will always miss the shot. If you’ve noticed, when the lightning strikes, you hear the thunder after one or two seconds of the light flash.

Other than these, don’t forget to take something to protect your camera and other gear. Lightning cityscape photography will require lots of time so bring some snacks, hot coffee, and water.

Location and Timing:

We need to find some locations with an open sky and beautiful high-rise buildings in the foreground. If you live in a city where you don’t have high-rise buildings, you may use mountains or trees as foreground elements. It’s not advisable to take pictures of the only sky with lightning. It’ll not look very interesting.

lightning photography tips

Find three or four locations in different directions, so no matter from which direction the storm is coming, you’ll always have a place to click the picture with the interesting foreground.

After location, we need to know about the weather, so you can be there well in time when an opportunity comes. Nowadays, many apps are available for weather forecasts and storm alerts. Use them to know about the weather in advance and plan accordingly.

Camera and trigger settings:

Okay, let’s talk about the camera and trigger settings. Mount your camera on the tripod and set the frame. Now focus on the buildings and put it again on manual focus settings. We are using a wide-angle lens, so we’ll get a deeper depth of field, and the sky will be in focus automatically.

We will control exposure for lightning using aperture and exposure for buildings using shutter speed. Light strikes for milliseconds, so shutter speed will not affect its exposure. First, set the ISO to 200, aperture to f/5.6, and shutter speed to 1/125. Now attach MIOPS Smart to your camera, set it to “Lightning” mode with 2-5% sensitivity.

cityscape lightning photography

Now, wait for lightning to strike. When it happens, MIOPS Smart will automatically click the picture. Check that picture, and if lightning looks dark, increase the ISO to 200 or set the aperture to f/4 (wide open to enter more light). If it’s overexposed, set ISO or aperture accordingly. Keep the aperture between the f/4 to f/11 range.

Now take another shot of lightning, and if it’s perfect, it’s time to set the exposure for buildings. Look in the viewfinder or back screen and half-press the shutter button. The camera will major the exposure for buildings and tell you if it’s underexposed or overexposed. If it’s under, lower the shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/30 and if it’s over, increase the shutter speed.

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Now take a shoot and see if the buildings are exposed correctly. If exposure is proper, you are all set. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the fantastic weather with hot coffee. Whenever the lightning strikes, MIOPS Smart will take the picture automatically. You may change the frame after 5-6 good shots.

Capture multiple lightning in one shot:

Okay, let’s talk about taking some incredible pictures. You can take multiple lightning strikes in a single shot. You need to lower the ISO to 100 or 50 (if your camera allows), set the aperture to very narrow, like f/16 or f/18, and shutter speed to 1 second or more. Our primary goal here is to open the shutter as long as possible.

You may use an ND filter for this. ND filter or neutral-density filter is made of dark glass that reduces the light entering the camera without changing the colors. With an ND filter, you can open the shutter for a longer time. Let’s say, with camera settings and the help of an ND filter, your shutter speed comes to five seconds. All the lightning bolts will be captured in a single shot during this period.

multiple lightning strikes in one picture

If you don’t have an ND filter, you have another option too. You can take multiple shots of lightning and merge them in post-processing too. Just remember that camera should not move during these multiple shots.

multiple lightning strikes in one picture

Be Safe:

Safety is a significant concern in lightning photography because lightning can be very dangerous or even deadly. Before you go shooting, google safety tips for lightning and follow them strictly. We can’t risk our life for some pictures, so always shoot from inside your car or a building. Your expensive equipment will also be safe from water when you shoot from inside.

Most of the tips and tricks we are talking about in this article will also work for cityscape photography, so you can take beautiful cityscape photographs too when the weather is clear. So be prepared, wait for the next storm, and click some beautiful pictures. All the best.

Blog Credits

Ramakant Sharda is an author, iOS App publisher, passionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.

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[faq q1="which gears do photographers need for lightning photography?" a1="Let’s talk about the gears you require for this photography. First, you need a camera. Any DSLR or mirrorless camera will work." q2="how to shoot multiple lightning strikes in one picture?" a2="You can take multiple lightning strikes in a single shot. You need to lower the ISO to 100 or 50" q3="what should be the camera settings for lightning photography?" a3="Mount your camera on the tripod and set the frame. Now focus on the buildings and put it again on manual focus settings."]

10 Top Tips for Photographing Lightning

10 Top Tips for Photographing Lightning

Everything you need to know to photograph lightning!

Lightning photography is astoundingly beautiful but it takes precise camera control, expert meteorological tracking skills, and perseverance. It doesn’t require any specialist equipment beyond a camera and lens, but to get the best out of your experience it’s best to use a remote trigger or a lightning trigger such as the MIOPS Smart+. 

Camera settings can be tricky to master, especially for beginners, but again devices like the MIOPS Smart+ remote trigger has a lightning-specific mode for capturing lightning easily, perfect for beginners or pros alike. So let’s take a look at our ten top tips for the best lightning photography.

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1. Use a Sturdy Tripod

The key to successful and sharp photographs of lightning is to keep the camera steady during exposures. Sure, you can place the camera on the ground or a wall, anything that will keep the camera still enough during the image-taking process, but this is far from ideal when it comes to composing good photos.

Ideally, you’ll use a tripod instead. But not just any tripod will do. You must make sure that the tripod (and the tripod head that sits atop it) can hold up the payload of your camera and lens setup. To do this, add up the weight of your camera and lens (including any memory cards and batteries) and then search for a tripod that accommodates that weight. For those on a budget, aluminum tripods offer good value for money whilst remaining lightweight. However, those that can afford it should look to carbon fiber models that are extremely lightweight and sturdy in equal measure.

useful tips for lightning photography

Tripod heads come in a range of different types from three-way, to pan-and-tilt, and even gimbals, each have their own specific usage. However, lightning photography is much like landscape photography because we capture the land around the lightning strikes as much as the strikes themselves. Therefore, it’s advised to use a ball-head. Ball-heads can rotate 360 degrees and allow for all kinds of camera orientations. They make it simple to level horizons easily on uneven ground and switch between horizontal and vertical orientations quickly without having to release the footplate from the screw thread underneath the camera body.

2. Choose the Right Lens

There’s no ‘lightning lens’ perfect for capturing those strikes, but some lenses will give greater advantages than others. A key feature to look for is a wide maximum aperture. This allows the greatest amount of light onto the image sensor and therefore keeps shutter speeds (or ISO sensitivity) lower whilst maintaining good exposures.

Image stabilization is largely unimportant for lightning photography because you should be using a tripod to keep the camera still. And there’s no sweet spot when it comes to focal length either. Wide-angle lenses can help with capturing a wide field of view, useful if your storm system is happening all around you, but mid to telephoto lenses are also useful for distant captures.

3. Tracking the Weather

Probably the most important part of photographing lightning, other than having the camera with you, is being able to find lightning in the first place. Using local weather forecasts are important as are online forecasts such as accuweather.com. Don’t just look at the top result displaying sun, cloud, or rain though, dig deeper and track weather systems via satellite data which shows the movement of storms. 

There are also storm-specific Facebook groups, and Twitter accounts that track local and national storm systems. Try a quick search online to find a group or account that covers your area. There are various apps that track storm systems such as My Lightning Tracker & Alerts which help when tracking storms in real-time. For those without access to a smart device though, websites like LightningMaps.org allow for storm tracking, too.

4. Best Lightning Locations

There’s no getting around it. To get lightning photographs consistently you’ll have to head to where the lightning is. Certain geographic locations are better for this than others. According to Accuweather, some of the cities with the highest lightning densities in the U.S. include Green River, WY, Rock Springs, WY, and Dickinson, ND.

For those in Europe you may want to head to northern Italy and nearby countries like Slovenia, and Croatia. And just as the location is important, so is the time of year you visit. Summer storms are more likely to bring thunderous storms because of the increased heat which allows cloud systems to build bigger than in colder seasons.

best locations for lightning photography

Real lightning photography buffs travel to find the best storms, but it’s likely that there will be a storm local to you at some point during the year. The best thing to do is to keep an eye out using weather forecasts, storm alert apps as aforementioned and speak to those who like to track and chase storms themselves to get the best results.

5. Which Camera Mode Should You Use for Lightning Photography?

Compact cameras, bridge cameras, and some entry-level DSLRs have various shooting modes to allow beginner photographers to take images before they learn all the ins and outs of the camera’s settings. Sometimes this includes a lightning capture mode, which sets camera settings automatically without user input. These can get good results, but manually dialling in settings is the best option.

Set the camera to manual mode, open the aperture as wide as possible and set the ISO sensitivity between 400 - 1200 depending on the light levels (night-time lightning photography can be some of the most stunning, so higher ISO sensitivities are required). Set the shutter speed to between 1-5 seconds (or longer depending on light levels) and take a sequence of images over the period of several minutes or hours. Within one of these images you should have at least one clear shot of lightning.

To make this easier, you can rely on the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger to automatically capture some of the best lightning photography. The Smart+ device works as a lightning trigger by detecting lightning and instantly triggering your camera so that you always capture lightning strikes without all the additional missed shots.

6. Use a Remote Shutter Release

Pressing the shutter button when capturing long exposures of lightning can introduce vibrations to the camera and leave your images blurry. So to avoid this you should use a remote shutter release. If using a remote shutter release it pays to get one that also doubles as an intervalometer which can automatically take consecutive images in order to reproduce the shooting method described in point five above. 

However, since the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger can automatically detect lightning and trigger the camera immediately, we’d argue that this is a better option than an external shutter release. The Smart+ device can also be used to capture bursting balloons, timelapses, it can be triggered by sound, has laser mode, and camera control can be operated via the MIOPS app on a smartphone.

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7. Focusing in Low Light

When shooting lightning in the daytime autofocus takes care of getting photos perfectly sharp, but as soon as the sun goes down and the sky gets dark, things get tricky. Autofocus stops working and starts hunting because it doesn’t have enough visual information to grab on to. That’s where you’ll have to engage manual focus on the camera body or lens.

Start by engaging the rear screen (or the electronic viewfinder, if your camera has one) and zoom in to a distant street light or a star in the sky. Alternatively, set the lens’ focus to infinity and fine-tune it (infinity markers generally don’t yield the best results).

8. Staying Safe

Photographing lightning is tremendous fun, but it’s a dangerous business. If you’re chasing storms in a car make sure you stay in the vehicle when near them and keep the windows rolled up. There are plenty of storm-chasing companies and plenty of storm-photography businesses that offer workshops who have good equipment, knowledge of getting near storms safely, and have other safety protocols in place to keep you safe.

how to do lightning photography

9. Shooting Sequential Photos

If you don’t have the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger and are using the first shooting technique described in point five then use the camera’s internal intervalometer to continually take multiple photos in sequence without repressing the shutter release button. This will give you several photos with lightning strikes in some shots. But how do you put these together to create a single, impressive photograph? Let’s take a look.

10. Compositing Sequential Images Together

An image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Serif Affinity Photo can layer several photos and blend them together to create a single composite shot of several lightning strikes. In Photoshop go to File>Scripts>Load files into stack. Then select all lightning photos and click OK. When the photos have all opened, select the top layer and change the blending mode to multiply. Right-click on the layer and choose copy layer style, then shift-click on all the other layers except the bottom-most layer. Then right-click on these layers and choose paste layer style. All the lightning shots should now appear atop one another in a composite.

Blog Credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer, educator and writer. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high profile international clients. Further information can be found in his website www.jasonpb.com.

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[faq q1="what do you need for lightning photography?" a1="The key to successful and sharp photographs of lightning is to keep the camera steady during exposures." q2="what kind of techniques should photographers use for lightning photography?" a2="When shooting lightning in the daytime autofocus takes care of getting photos perfectly sharp, but as soon as the sun goes down and the sky gets dark, things get tricky. " q3="how can photographers tracks strikes for lightning photography?" a3="Probably the most important part of photographing lightning, other than having the camera with you, is being able to find lightning in the first place"]

Master Tips to Take Lightning Photos

Master Tips to Take Lightning Photos

Photography has allowed us to be able to capture and share the images of so many natural and man-made phenomena in the world. Through photography we have been able to show beautiful places, events, and things that are happening at one point in the globe to someone on the opposite side. Our capability to capture, document, and interpret the beautiful things also fueled our curiosity and drove us into learning more about the world that we live in. 

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Perhaps one of the most interesting natural phenomena that happens anywhere in the world are extreme weather conditions. To be more specific, there is nothing more electrifying than images of lightning. (pun intended) However, much like any other marvelous thing, it involves quite a considerable level of difficulty to seek them and actually be successful in capturing them. Lightning and thunderstorms are some of the most dynamic environmental conditions that create such powerful landscape images. With the right preparation, precaution, the right gear, and a good amount of luck, one can successfully photograph the striking split-second phenomena. 

The Challenges of Capturing Lightning

The Challenges of Capturing Lightning

There are various factors at play when going out to shoot thunderstorms with the hope of capturing lighting. For one, lightning storms are quite unpredictable. There are various ways to have a general idea of when and where lightning may strike but amidst that, the odds of actually having your shutter open for that split second event have to be raised. In addition to the relative rarity of lightning striking within your field of view multiple times, factors like rain, wind, and cloud cover make shooting even more challenging. For you to be able to overcome these challenges, preparation is key and behind it is understanding the science behind the involved elements.  

Why lightning strikes and where it happens are perhaps the most important things to understand to be able to photograph them better. In the simplest sense, the movement of air and water molecules in the sky causes a build-up of an electrical gradient in the clouds. Lightning happens when an electrically charged cloud expels this electricity to achieve a more neutral state. The electricity either travels towards another  adjacent cloud or onto the ground. With winds of greater velocity such as during a storm, the build-up of the electrical gradient happens at a much faster and repetitive rate and such is the reason why lightning happens more often during a storm. During a storm, your location relative to the storm itself plays such a big role. Your distance from the storm affects your safety and the presence of heavy rain and/or cloud cover hinders visibility. 

Another crucial step to overcome the challenges of the unpredictability of lightning is generally knowing where and when they are happening. With the idea of where a storm will hit, one can prepare by seeking a good and safe vantage point. This is best done using various lightning monitoring and lightning tracker apps. Once you find a specific area nearby with consecutive lightning strikes happening, there is more likelihood of being able to successfully capture them. 

Safety When Photographing Lightning

Safety When Photographing Lightning

The most absolute way to avoid lightning is to stay away from any exposed open space altogether. However, that also absolutely hinders you from being able to photograph it. The next best thing is to photograph the storm from a distance. Through this you are able to stay outside to shoot as long as you can without significant risk of getting struck. If the storm is moving towards your direction you will have significant time to get to safety. If within significant proximity from the storm, there are a number of situations to avoid. The most obvious is to avoid shooting from or near any body of water. Experts say that it is also best to avoid overhanging cliffs, lone trees, and any singular tall structure. 

Along with the lightning storm comes a significant chance of rain so it is also best to pack rain gear for both yourself and your camera gear. With significant rainfall comes an added risk of getting struck by lightning due to the attraction of electricity to water and even then, of course it is very likely that your camera gear will not stand the heavy rain for very long. 

Essential Equipment for Photographing Lightning

Essential Equipment for Photographing Lightning

Any camera can capture lightning. Lightning in this sense is just a very bright light source. However, the difficulty arises in the fact that it happens very quickly. The goal of gearing up for photographing lightning is increasing your chances of being able to catch it in frame while your sensor is open. This is why it is most advantageous to be using a camera that has full manual functions. Cameras with bigger sensors such as a full frame or medium format camera would also have an edge in keeping the images clean and detailed especially when working with a dim foreground. 

The requirement for lenses varies entirely on how far you are from the storm. If you are shooting from within the general area of the storm it would be best to be using a wide angle lens with your camera pointing further up (assuming there isn’t any significant rainfall). Shooting outside the general area of the storm (around 2-4 kilometers away) would be most successful with a standard zoom lens. This includes lenses that are commonly at 24-70mm or 24-105mm and yes, that also includes your kit lens. Any farther away from that you would need a longer telephoto lens if the lightning strikes are not covered by rain or any clouds at this distance. 

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Perhaps the most non-negotiable piece of equipment would be a sturdy and heavy duty tripod. Shooting a storm would mean having to withstand significant winds and considering the necessary exposure settings, even the slightest shake of the camera would ruin what could have been a nice dramatic image. There is no exact measure of how heavy the tripod should be just as long as it wouldn’t shake when being blown by the wind. An added way to secure this would be to hang a heavy object such as a sandbag onto the center column of your tripod to keep it steady. 

Lastly, the most helpful tool that you can have for such a challenging photographic task is a smart camera trigger. Camera triggers range from as simple as a remote, while some of the most advanced triggers also feature intelligent sensors to help you automate your shooting process. The MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger is an app-controlled device that serves as your best companion for shooting lightning photography. It features many automated triggering modes such as a remote timer for specifically controlled long exposures, interval shooting for timelapse, as well as a sound and laser motion trigger. Of course the most perfect feature of the MIOPS Smart+ for this workflow is a lightning sensor that detects strong flashes of light in front of the camera and triggers the camera to shoot as it happens. 

How to Capture Split-Second Lightning

How to Capture Split-Second Lightning

As said way too many times in the earlier parts of this tutorial, lightning happens very quickly in an unpredictable manner. To manually try and wait for lightning to strike and then press the shutter button would be like trying to catch a fly in a hurricane. That is why instead, the more effective method is to do consecutive long exposures with hopes that the lightning strike would happen while the shutter is open. To do this, the most basic way is to shoot in interval mode using a built in interval timer or through an intervalometer trigger. This would lead to hundreds of images with the majority of them probably with no lightning at all. To cut down that number of wasted exposures, using a lightning trigger would lead to getting only images with actual lightning strikes on them.

Settings for Shooting Lightning Photography 

Exposure settings vary depending on the time of day and the presence of other light sources in the frame. Typically, it would be futile to try to capture lightning during daytime because the sky wouldn’t give the strikes much contrast. Instead, lightning photography can happen during twilight and of course, during the night. 

Shooting at twilight would mean shorter exposure times. This also applies to situations wherein there are a lot of artificial lights in the direction that you are shooting. A range of about 4 to 8 seconds should be good enough to capture the lightning and give the background enough luminosity. This also avoids the possibility of other light sources (even those less bright than the lightning strike) to cancel it out. 

Lightning photography at night allows for the possibility of longer exposures. This would essentially give more room to doing exposures to also brighten up the foreground depending on how many lightning strikes happen within the exposure time. When shooting in an area away from any major cities, long exposures of over 30 seconds can capture multiple lightning strikes in a single exposure but in otherwise bright locations, shorter exposure times lead to multiple images that need to be stacked to achieve the same effect. 

Given the conditions for shutter speed, the settings for ISO and aperture remain similar to principles applied in shooting landscape images. A lower ISO is desired for less noise on the images, and a relatively small aperture for having as much of the frame in focus. With shutter speed kept as a priority the two other parameters are relatively flexible. 

Another PRO tip to follow is to focus manually. Most lenses and cameras have relatively slower focusing in the dark. The short fractions of a second that the camera focuses could mean missing a lightning strike. By using manual focus for lightning photography, that delay is skipped, the risk of missing is lessened, and focus is assured.

Post Processing Lightning Photographs

There is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to post processing a lightning image. In a near-perfect condition where all details were captured in a single exposure then post production will probably only require contrast and color adjustments. For shooting scenarios that give multiple lightning strikes in frame within different individual exposures, stacking would be a very effective method. Stacking exposures means putting together multiple images with the same angle and composition. This method combines all your desired lightning strikes into a single and more dramatic image. 

Another method is by creating multiple image composites. This method combines lightning images with landscape photographs taken from other locations taken at a different time. Through this, the lightning photographs drastically enhance a night time landscape image by giving a dramatic luminous element. 

Blog Credit: Nicco Valenzuela

Nicco started his photographic journey in 2007 practicing the craft as a hobby. Currently, he shoots for various local and international architectural firms and construction companies. Out of his love for sharing his knowledge, Nicco began writing about photography and various pieces of gear. 

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The Best Tips for Shooting the Most Creative High Speed Photographs

Smart+ captures a colorful balloon while popping

How fast are you?

You know how to compose, use the light, and operate your camera.  You’re handy with a flash.  You consider yourself a pretty good photographer.  But how fast are you?  When the difference between getting and missing the shot is measured in milliseconds, are your reflexes and trigger finger up to the task?

High-speed photography is capturing the moments that happen in a fraction of time which you can’t see with the naked eye, like a bursting balloon or a splash of water.

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Recommended camera and lens

Of course, you need a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, if you have any other camera that has manual controls, it will also work fine. Next is the lens and just like the camera, any could work. For instance, you can use a 100mm macro lens for close-up shots like liquid sculptures and a 24-70mm zoom for balloon shots. The only lens requirement is that the focal length should be long enough so that you have sufficient distance between your camera and the subject, to keep your gear safe from colors and water splashes.

a water drop captured with high speed photography techniques at a river inside a forest

Lighting

Next, you need flashes, it could be one for simple shots or you can add multiple for a more complex composition. The next requirement is a tripod because you need to do lots of work simultaneously, so it’s better that the camera is fixed on the tripod. You also need a shutter release cable or remote to release the shutter. For instance, the MIOPS Smart Trigger has multiple modes for sound, laser, lightning triggering as well as Time Lapse and HDR modes.

Triggering the camera

When you're ready to start shooting even faster-moving objects or find that the “fast hands and timing luck method” isn't sufficient to capture your moving object, you may want to look into a shutter trigger.  Some of these use sound to trigger the shutter and flash, others may use laser beams so that when the beam is broken by the moving object, the shutter and flash are triggered. 

use MIOPS Smart+to capture high speed photographs with sound or laser modes

Using MIOPS Smart Trigger

Sound and Laser modes are a great alternative for getting those high-speed photography shots that portrait and product photographers dream about.

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Laser Mode

The MIOPS Smart+ has a photocell on the front panel, which is utilized for a number of things, including the laser triggering function. The available parameters are straightforward and are pretty much self-explanatory. Once your preferences are set, a press of the start key and you’re good to go. There are three parameters available:

  • Threshold – This is the sensitivity to the laser. If set too high, it can cause false triggering. Too low a setting can cause failure to trigger.
  • Delay – Allows you to delay the shutter release after the initial trigger event. Delays are specified in milliseconds (0-999)
  • Frames – How many images you want to be taken once the laser has been interrupted.

Liquor bottles captured on air while dropping liquid

Sound Mode

The sound function allows triggering of either the flash or the camera, or both. Sometimes it is needed to add a delay to the shutter and it all depends about the camera settings, lighting conditions, and external flashes. Simply point the Smart+ at the sound source and adjust the parameters, which are available in three options:

  • Sensitivity – This is the sensitivity to the sound. Setting too high can cause false triggering. Too low can cause failure to trigger. Having the trigger further away from the source introduces a delay (3 milliseconds per meter) and will need to be compensated for with higher sensitivity.
  • Delay – Allows you to delay the shutter release or flash after the initial trigger event. Delays are specified in milliseconds (0-999)
  • Lock – If set, the MIOPS will trigger once. Particularly useful if using the dark environment and firing the flash mentioned above. In this case, multiple firing can ruin a high-speed image.

For shooting with the sound mode, a good example is to set your camera to about 1.3 to 1 second shutter. Set the MIOPS to sensitivity 90, delay 10ms, then set it to Lock “On” so it only triggers once as any kind of sound can trigger your flash. After pressing start on the MIOPS Mobile App, press your shutter and try hitting an object, such as a plastic bottle of water as a test subject.

A SpaceX rocket captured with Smart+ using sound mode

Once you isolate the sound correctly and find your best camera settings, then it will be time to put the real object that you would want to crash to set the sound trigger. Again, it could be crashing a bottle. Remember that the MIOPS Smart Trigger is not water-resistant, so be careful and avoid getting it wet. You need to shoot in a dark area or turn off all the ambient light because the slow shutter of your camera might expose for the ambient light.

Related Article: How to Use MIOPS Smart+ Laser Mode

About The Author Manuel Delgado:

Manuel Delgado is an award-winning photographer with a specialization in travel and documentary photography. He writes for Contrastly and is a Mentor for NGO Photographers Alliance, having led workshops in Africa with a focus on ethical and humanitarian photography. His work has been exhibited in Europe and the Americas.

Driven by an innate curiosity for his surroundings, Manuel´s process is mainly focused on capturing people in their natural environment; translating through his lens the subtle threads of daily life that are shared across cultures, borders, and races. Depicting people from diverse backgrounds, his work is united by a shared aesthetic that serves to tell each individual’s story. Manuel is currently living in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Manuel Delgado Instagram Profile

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[faq q1="how to use Sound Mode in camera trigger?" a1="The sound function allows triggering of either the flash or the camera, or both." q2="how to use laser Mode in camera trigger?" a2="The MIOPS Smart+ has a photocell on the front panel, which is utilized for a number of things, including the laser triggering function." q3="what are the Recommended camera and lens for high-speed photographs?" a3="Of course, you need a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, if you have any other camera that has manual controls, it will also work fine."]

How a Lightning Camera Trigger Helps You Capture Incredible Lightning Photographs

How a Lightning Camera Trigger Helps You Capture Incredible Lightning Photographs

Here’s an informative list of how a lightning camera trigger helps you capture incredible lightning photographs especially if you’re a beginner.

The post How a Lightning Camera Trigger Helps You Capture Incredible Lightning Photographs appeared first on MIOPS.

7 Tips for Choosing a Camera Trigger for Lightning Photography

7 Tips for Choosing a Camera Trigger for Lightning Photography

Here are some of the most practical tips for choosing camera trigger for lightning photography. Choose a camera trigger with a function specifically designed to capture lightning.

The post 7 Tips for Choosing a Camera Trigger for Lightning Photography appeared first on MIOPS.

Lightning Photography: The “Old School” Way vs Lightning Trigger

Lightning Photography: The “Old School” Way vs Lightning Trigger

Have you ever looked at a spectacular lightning photo and wished you could capture something similar? If so, you should know that it isn't as difficult as you might think.

The post Lightning Photography: The “Old School” Way vs Lightning Trigger appeared first on MIOPS.

Useful Tips For Photographing Stunning Lightning Bolts

Three seperate lightning bolts captured above the bridge on a stormy day

How to use MIOPS to take photos of lightning and how to make your lightning photos extraordinary.

The post How to Take the Extraordinary Lightning Photos appeared first on MIOPS.