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  How to photograph lightning
Safety
Lightning Kills, Take precautions
Your safety should be your first priority! Chances are you won't be selling the images you are trying to create. The market is saturated with lightning shots, so it's not worth the risk.

Each year lightning kills an average of 200 people in the United States. Chasing storms will expose you to the risk of being struck by lightning. If you don’t understand the risks, you should not be outside in thunderstorms trying to take pictures or storm chasing for any reason. Cells can quickly develop behind you while you are watching an active cell in front of you. There will be times you think you are far enough from the cloud margins to be safe, only to have a bolt hit behind you. You can easily be over run by cells that are moving twice as fast as expected. This is a dangerous hobby.
1. Understand thunderstorms by reading everything you can on them.
What's the thunderstorm pattern in your area? In what direction do they normally move? You can find reliable weather forcasting including dopplar radar maps online from The Weather Channel or a local TV station.

Understand lightning. How is the bolt formed, what makes an area likely to be hit. The Dean of lightning is Professor Martin Uman of University of Florida. Buy his books on Amazon here.
The web is a great place to start your research. Start with NOAA's Safety Page, National Severe Storms Lab and FEMA 's information sites.
Give these storm safety links a try:
The Weather Channel and the CPCU Society. The folks at The Lightning Trigger have some great common sense safety suggestions.
2. Use conservative careful judgment on when to pack up and get back in the car. If there is not enough time to pack it up; be prepared to leave your equipment out. If that should happen, you are not being careful enough. Hardtop cars, with windows up, are relatively safe places.
3. Make sure your will is done and life insurance paid up. Check the organ donor box on your license. Seriously, it is just that dangerous.
4. Make sure your next of kin know you do this of your own volition. we do not encourage or recommend that anyone storm chase or get near thunderstorm cells. But if you are going to do it anyway, be prepared.
5. Don’t go alone. Storm chase with a friend, but one of you must stay in the car or stand at least 100 feet away. One of you must be able to call 911.
For more on Storm Chasing, visit: Charles A. Doswell's excellent site.
6. Take a cell phone. Otherwise, how will you call 911?
7. Memorize lightning survival tips. Sometimes, but not always, there are a few warnings before a strike. These are from FEMA's web site:
  • Attempt to get into a building or car.
  • If no structure is available, get to an open space and squat low to the ground as quickly as possible. If in the woods, find an area protected by low clump of trees--never stand underneath a single large tree in the open. Be aware of the potential for flooding in low-lying areas.
  • Crouch with hands on knees.
  • Avoid tall structures such as towers, tall trees, fences, telephone lines, or power lines.
  • Stay away from natural lightning rods such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles, or camping equipment.
  • Stay from rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water.
  • If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike), bend forward, putting your hands on your knees. A position with feet together and crouching while removing all metal objects is recommended. Do not lie flat on the ground.
8. Do you and your partner know CPR? Visit the Red Cross website to find a local chapter and take a CPR class. It's something you need to know anyway.

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