Mitchell Krog

The Light of Day | Lightning Landscape Photography

Lightning Landscape Photography, like with all my photography, has always been about telling a story. For me photos of lightning strikes are a dime a dozen, just about anyone with some basic photography experience can capture a lightning strike, that part is easy. Exposing both sky and ground at night in a single exposure without a lightning strike blowing the exposure remains for me one of the most challenging forms of photography barre none and this is one reason I am still so utterly consumed by it.

Let me explain it this way. You're out in the dead of night with a camera and an off-board flash that can fire at any time at either 5%, 50%, 100%, 500% or 1000% power output and you have absolutely no control over it. This is one reason why for years when people have asked me "what are your settings" I tell them my settings are meaningless. Unless you understand what it is you are trying to expose for you are wasting your time trying to dial in other people's settings.

When I am out chasing a lightning storm, within the space of just 5 minutes my aperture can rapidly shift from f/2.8 to f/16, my shutter speed can shift from 2 seconds to 30 seconds and my ISO can shift from 100 to 1600 all depending on how I am reading what is happening and what "might" happen. So while lightning landscape photography involves a certain amount of luck, it does require your brain to be ticking over doing constant exposure calculations without as much as a light meter to assist you.

I came across this image in my catalogue last night from our past summer storm season and decided it was time for it to see The Light of Day. This past summer we had some great storms as we always do, our rains however were quite poor giving us barely a third of what we had received in the previous year.

This evening a very fast moving storm rolled in from the South which is not our normal direction for rain so I knew it would either pack a punch or just fizzle out on me. I headed out to the nearby sunflower fields that had only germinated about 14 days prior and decided to use the leading lines of sunflowers in the field as a foreground to complete this Lightning Landscape Photo. As the storm passed through it emitted a lightning strike big enough to illuminate the night sky as well as giving me that last little bit of exposure I needed to expose the field.

When I came across this image last night I felt it was time to bring this image out of the darkness of my catalogue and into the Light of Day. Enjoy ;)

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