Archive for Sunday, August 3, 2003

Rapid shooting, patience result in striking night sky photograph

Behind the Lens

August 3, 2003


Photographer: Scott McClurg

Camera: Nikon D1H

Lens: 17-35mm zoom, set to 28mm

ISO: 200

Aperture: 9.0

Shutter: 4 seconds

This photo was taken July 21 at the Dole Institute of Politics dedication ceremony from the top of the hill south of the new building. I had been sitting for a couple of hours so I wouldn't lose my spot for the laser light show, the event I'd been assigned to cover.

As I waited, a storm cloud with lightning began heading our way from the north. I unfolded my tripod and composed the picture loosely to include the crowd and space on both sides of the Dole building because I didn't know where the lightning would strike next. The problem with shooting lightning is once you see it, you're too late.

I set my shutter speed to a 4-second exposure and blasted more than 100 frames, hoping to catch a strike sometime when the shutter was open. I got one frame with lightning in it. I tried shooting a little longer, but the strikes were fewer and further away. Knowing I was on deadline, I transmitted from location using a laptop and the World Company's new wireless Hotspot technology and got back to covering the laser light show.

-- "Behind the Lens" is an ongoing weekly series that features an image selected by the Journal-World photo staff that previously ran in the newspaper or online. Wondering how a certain picture was created? Nominate it for "Behind the Lens" by contacting chief photographer Mike Yoder at 832-7141 or

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