Lightning in January

Unexpected and somewhat frustrating….but I captured lightning, in January, in Indiana!!! WTH?

Here I go

I heard the rumble of thunder.  It was all that I needed to send me out the door with a quickness.  I had my D500 packed and my MeFoto Globetrotter was already strapped to the bag.  At that moment I decided to go with what I had.  Normally I have a bag packed and ready to go out for storm photography.  Tonight wasn’t really that way.  The bag was packed, the camera was kind of set up of BIF so I knew I would have to reconfigure after I got set up.

I sped out of the driveway heading towards town.  Thinking I would go to one of my spots just north of town.  As I got towards my spot the wind was kicking over 30 mph and the rain was going sideways.  Then I decided to backtrack South and West to another spot.  Zigzagging down the wrong road trying to get to another location was setting back time wise.  I should have just went down 1/4 of a mile and it would have been a straight shot.  I could see lighting popping here and there, I just had to get set up and quick.

The frustration

Finally I get to the second location.  The rain had passed and the storm line was to the East of me.  The car was parked facing south, the wind was coming out the South by Southwest and really strong.  I opened up the car door, pulled my bag to the driver seat and began to unpack.   I went to deploy the MeFoto and then realized my fears of a 4 section twist lock tripod were correct.  It takes too damn long to deploy when you need to get ready to in seconds.  Great for the backpack, not so great for storm photography at night, in the wind, without my headlamp.

Using the car as a wind break and the tripod finally deployed I began to get up the D500.    This being the first time I have used the D500 for lightning I was on a little learning curve.  Time was running out, what few lightning strikes were happening were moving rapidly east.  The camera half way setup, I went for 10″ exposures as I was still fiddling with menu items.  I usually have everything I need in my quick menus for this but not on this body.  I had a major blonde moment and forgot where the Auto ISO setting was, because it was on.

More frustration

I keep snapping exposures trying to figure out where the Auto ISO setting was.  For the record, Nikon’s menu system have never felt very intuitive.  This is coming from someone that can navigate code with a hex editor.  Searching Google didn’t  help much either at which point I said never mind.  Finally the lightning stopped within a matter of minutes of being setup.  I went back in the car to solve this Auto ISO problem and also discovered a few more things.

1: My Auto ISO is now in My Menu

2: I forgot I was shooting in 1.3 crop mode, “Choose Image Area” is now in My Menu

3: I actually caught a lightning strike!

4: The wind was really strong affecting this exposure



Lightning In January