What is “Storm Light?”
“Storm light” is a special kind of outdoor lighting that occurs usually just after a storm has passed. The atmosphere is usually full of small particles of dust, rain, and ice, and this creates a unique coloration of the sky and land. It is one of the best, most difficult, most dangerous, and rarest of times to shoot landscape photos.
Sometimes, but not always, the sky will turn green before an approaching tornado or strong storm. This may be caused by dust particles in the air. It is not a definite indicator of a tornado, but it usually does mean that bad weather will follow. The green of the sky can make for some striking photos with an eerie feel to them. I would work with RAW files here because the white balance will be way off if you leave it up to the camera to determine it. Leaving your camera in Program mode would work best as the light conditions will change rapidly.
After a storm or when a storm is passing nearby during the day, the sky will sometimes get very colorful – almost like a sunset that occurs all around you. It will color the landscape with whatever color it is and you can get some interesting color contrasts that you can not achieve otherwise. Usually the color is purple to orange and sometimes very bright. The light changes so rapidly and it is so difficult to be prepared to capture it that you have to be ready beforehand or else you’ll miss it. I would shoot in RAW on program mode and have my camera ready whenever a storm is passing.
Beware of lightning. It can strike at any time and any where. You are taking your chances if you are outside. Tall things or metal things will enhance your chances of being struck by lightning. That is all I can say about that. Read up on the dangers of lightning and know how to be safe. If you want to capture photos of lightning, I recommend to do it remotely where you are inside and safe while your camera is outside on a tripod. There are remote triggers that would come in handy for this. There is also something called a “lightning trigger” that detects lightning and lets you get the shot.
Approaching storms can look menacing and overwhelming. Capture this sense of size using an ultra wide angle lens. This will create a “sweeping” sky. Be sure to include some buildings or trees in the landscape to give a sense of the size.
First of all, be safe. There is no substitute for safety, and no photo is worth risking your life.
Storm light can be amazing to work with and you have to be prepared to capture it. It will color the landscape like nothing you have ever seen before, and the skies you will capture will be the best and probably strangest-looking that you’ve ever seen. It is certainly worth it to be out shooting in this kind of light, but be safe and protect yourself at all costs.
Thank you for reading what I wrote – I hope you enjoyed it!