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Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2004

Photographer bypassed traditional techniques to capture light show

September 12, 2004

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Photographer: Scott McClurg

Camera: Nikon D1X

Lightning fills the sky behind Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001
W. 15th St. The late August storm caused flooding throughout
Lawrence, knocking out power to many while putting on an electrical
show of its own.

Lightning fills the sky behind Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 W. 15th St. The late August storm caused flooding throughout Lawrence, knocking out power to many while putting on an electrical show of its own.

Lens: 17mm

Aperture: f4

ISO: 125

Shutter: 4-second exposure

For this picture capturing the lighting display during a storm that flooded Lawrence, I drove out to Corpus Christi Catholic Church to use the building as a foreground. When shooting lightning, it isn't enough to just point your camera skyward and get bolts of lightning; you need something to give it perspective. I used the church because it is about as close to the edge of Lawrence as possible and has some interesting architecture.

I attached the camera to a clamp that I mounted on my car and shot this frame with a 4-second exposure. Usually, you use much longer exposures to try to capture more lightning bolts, but most digital cameras don't fare well with anything longer than a couple of seconds. Not to mention the lightning was so plentiful that longer exposures weren't really needed. So, to improvise, I shot dozens of frames hoping to get lucky and catch a bolt.

I exposed for the church to be just a little dark and let the lightning bring in the rest of the light. Once I saw that I had captured this picture, I moved on and tried a different location. I ended up using this frame because the lightning filled up just the spot I was hoping for and worked really well.

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