Lightning Storm / by Joel Bramley

This photo is available for purchase via my

RedBubble shop

.

After the huge response I got from my lightning photos from last night and some questions about camera settings and how I blended 5 photos to get the one above I thought I'd write down how I did it.

First at 7:30 I noticed the clouds started to obscure the late afternoon sun which was nice after a hot day but it did feel hotter with the sun gone, behind it looked to be some rain coming. I had no idea there was a storm on the way. Even if there was storms usually skip Bendigo.

To catprue the lightning strikes my camera settings were ISO 200, Aperture at f/22 and shutter varied from 27 seconds to 49 seconds over the 5 photos (my camera has a setting under shutter speed that comes up after Bulb called Live Time that shows me how the photo is developing as it happens, makes it easier to see when I have enough lightning bolts without overexposing, this is why I have varying shutter speeds).

This is my single best photo taking 49 seconds to expose. Due to the falling light from the setting sun I could let it go a little longer. This photo is available for purchase on my RedBubble shop.

To blend them together first each shot needs to be aligned, then stacked into layers in Photoshop (or another graphics software that does layers and has layer blending), I have Photoshop Elements 12. Once the layers at stacked it's a simple change of the layer blending mode to screen.

Repeat for each layer then because each layer adds more brightness a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer was needed to reduce the brightness and increase the contrast, also a Levels adjustment layer to further drop some of the brightness. The end result is the image at the top of this page.