“…Darkness to Show the Light”

As the sun began to set, and the clouds rolled in, I could smell the onset of a fresh storm approaching. Periodically, I would check the window wondering why there were no raindrops falling. There were cell phone notifications blaring an “Emergency Alert” for the local areas referring to flash floods, and thunderstorms, yet I saw nothing. Facebook updates showing storms just on the other side of town that seemingly didn’t reach us. My wife and I decided to investigate by going for a ride around the neighborhood to at least find some great storm clouds. But what we found was not quite what we expected…most of our neighbors, standing in awe of the Las Vegas skyline. Vehicles pulled into empty dirt lots, cell phones hanging out of driver side windows, and a lightning storm giving its all. That’s right, even mother nature puts on a great show in Las Vegas! One bolt, two bolts, three bolts, four…I could hear the gasps of surrounding children, and adults alike, simply amazed by the dark skies lighting and crackling. Unable to turn away, I also heard a parent telling their child of a fictitious battle between spiritual beings. I laughed to myself thinking, “people still tell those stories?” Tonight was a great night to revisit a quote by Kevin Russo, “Photography by nature is spiritual, considering it comes from the darkness to show the light.”How to achieve this look:

One may think they’d have to increase their shutter speed to “catch” the lightning, but it’s the opposite. You need to slow it down, be consistent, and be patient. Mother nature will do her thing, and your camera will the rest. Don’t forget your tripod! Having your shutter speed open for so long especially with limited lighting you’ll need to minimize the camera shake. With your DSLR camera and lens of choice simply place your equipment on it’s legs (tripod). I chose my Canon EF 28-135mm and set it to 35mm, f-stop of 6.3, and shutter speed of 8 seconds. After a few focus fires, I simply pressed the shutter button as often as I felt necessary and worked on my being patient and consistent. Remember you don’t want to wait until you think lightning will strike, just press and release the shutter button every eight seconds or so. If you wait to review each photo you’ll run the risk of missing another great shot. If you’ve taken any similar photos, feel free to contact me through the K. Wilkins Photography Facebook Page. I’d love to see your work!

Remember to go out and capture tomorrow’s history…enjoy!

Lightning Storm-1

Lightning Storm-2

Lightning Storm-3

Lightning Storm-4

Lightning Storm-5

Lightning Storm-6

Lightning Storm-7

Lightning Storm-8

Lightning Storm-9


  1. Very nice!

  2. Cynthia Willis

    These photos are simply amazing! As a person who loves the sky, clouds and a great light show (lol), these capture the danger & awesomeness of lightning. I personally am glad you & your wife went to investigate the storm. Keep sharing your gift with us.

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