I’ve photographed the dramatic effects of lightning at night, however my preference is the look (and the more challenging) of lightning at dusk.
This image is a time-lapse still (layered in Lighten Mode via Photoshop):
The mix of colors, clouds, lightning, … and even star trails in this image are achieved in a total of 8 minutes of 15 second exposures. ..
Made July 13,2015. Facing Southeast on the edge of a very prolific slow moving storm.
The tricky part of daytime lightning is in the exposure. Many use a lightning trigger .. if not, a long enough exposure is necessary to register lightning when it does strike; it’s there and gone faster than we are able to manually ‘react’. I utilize Singh Ray’s ND filters with the goal of achieving at the least an optimal 6 second exposure.
My aperture and ISO are my priorities first and depend on the characteristics of the lightning (how close, how bright,..topic for another time).
To achieve that 6 seconds (or even stretching it down to 2 or 3) would be less than probable with any daylight in the sky. Even if you could achieve that longer shutter time, it would mean a render of your lowest ISO and aperture, which would likely miss the lightning strikes altogether. A more detailed explanation is a topic for another day…
In this scenario, and during Nautical twilight, I was able to achieve 15 second exposures (continuous with Intervalometer) at f/7.1, ISO 200 with a 5 stop ND filter. Gitzo tripod. Nikon D810, 90mm.
… 90mm, you ask? Oh yes. To be under the impression that only a wide angle lens is optimal for lightning doesn’t always hold true. The storm was further away and centralized. It made more sense to compose with a longer lens. My wide angle lenses stayed in their pouches.
I also pay further note to the other effects of the 15 second exposures in the movement of the clouds and the small amount of southeasterly star trails that occur over 8 minutes.