Jack Dykinga chased the storm cell into the Sonoran Desert northwest of Tucson, trying to find a road running perpendicular to its progress. “It’s a question of seeing the right conditions forming up,” he says, “and getting into position, hoping all the elements come together.” When they did—the cactus, the rainbow, the setting sun below the cloud layer—he put himself between the sun and the storm, set up his gear inside his camper truck and shot through the open backdoor.
The camera was his D800E, the lens an AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED, and he took the one-second exposure at f/14 and ISO 100 with the D800E set for aperture priority and Matrix metering.
The key piece of equipment: the Lightning Trigger, which slides into the camera’s hot shoe and connects via the cable release socket. For this image, the Trigger fired the camera twice, capturing horizontal bands of lightning on two separate frames, which Jack later layered in Photoshop.
The image is the full-frame vertical. “The subject dictates composition,” Jack says, and he expects the “game-changing quality” of the D800E to produce a stunning 40x50-inch print.
He shot over 30 images that afternoon, but only these two frames worked. “You can try for this your whole life and not get it,” he says.
Frankly, we don’t advise trying. “The pursuit of lightning photos like this is inherently dangerous,” Jack says.