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  How to photograph lightning

Lightning, Gateway Arch
The sky becomes electric as
a large summer thunderstorm
moves over the Gateway Arch,
St. Louis, Missouri

©1980 Joseph Matthews
For me, lightning sums up all that is exciting about watching weather. It’s the climatic fireworks at the end of the process as cumulus builds to nimbocumulus and becomes a storm. It often continues to accent the finale of the storm as the rains slack and the clouds open back up. It is accessible but untamed nature, both beautiful and dangerous. Most of us live in areas that have thunderstorms with lightning, unlike rarer climatic events, like tornadoes. But be warned; storm chasing to capture images of lightning is as dangerous as chasing tornadoes across the Midwest. Lightning kills.

You can capture great lightning photography. What is required? Basic to advanced experience in photography, good equipment, patience, planning and a knowledge of how storms work and move in your area.

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