Author: David Halgrimson
On an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop, Missions & pueblos of Santa Fe & Taos this July, our group was at the Abo Mission ruins of Salinas Pueblo National Monument. It was late evening and there had been rain in the area, lots of rain and when we decided to leave for our hotel, the only road in or out was flooded, no getting out for awhile. There was a ranger there with us and he said it would be about 15 – 20 minutes for the water to lower enough for us to leave, so of course we waited. After 20 minutes the ranger told us it was going to be quite a bit longer. Because it was getting dark we decided to shoot the ruins and stars above. Not only did this turn out to be a great shoot, there was also a thunder storm to the north, far enough for us to be safe yet take photos of the spectacular lightening show it was displaying. By accident this turned out to be one of the highlights of the workshop as everyone was able to get some great shots of the ruins and the lightening show.
This is a great example of what can happen when out shooting and things turn sour and not look in your favor. So look around, be open and make the best of it. Be sure to be safe, don’t take unnecessary chances, i.e. the thunder storm was far away and we could not be harmed, so when out there be open to opportunities that present themselves.
To get the lightening shots I used a TriggerTrap, a cord that connects the camera to a phone, in my case an iPhone. The camera is then controlled with an app that has a number of features from Timelapse to Shock and Vibration sensing. I used a Press and Hold option with the camera set to Bulb mode. Because there was very little to no ambient light I could press the button on the iPhone and hold it, which opened the shutter, until the lightning struck then let up, then held it down again and again. I did this many times over a twenty minute period. Because we were so far from the storm I was able to get the storm and the stars above the storm. Camera settings were Bulb, ISO 1600, f/4 and from 12 to 48 seconds depending on how long it took for the lightning to strike. It was great fun and the app worked very well.