Host Mike Howard, Tim Kemperle & Kathleen Bowie interview photographer Mike Olbinski.  Mike shoots a wide range of subjects, but in this interview we focus on his storm photos including some amazing lightning photos.




Mike Olbinski – Photographer

Mike’s Dust Storm video –
Types of photography

  • Landscape
  • Storm
  • Family
  • Weddings

Safety Issues with Storms

  • Lightning – biggest danger (use a wireless shutter release)
  • Flash Floods
  • Dust Storms – results in car accidents (pileups)
  • Not paying attention to where you are driving


  • Excellent camera and just because there is a new model doesn’t mean I need to replace the camera
  • Upgrading from a crop sensor to a full-frame made a huge difference
  • Lenses
    • 35/f1.4 – L series (favorite lens)
    • 50/f1.4
    • 70-200 f/2.8 – will use for weddings

Lighting Shots

  • Watch the radar and look for storms and go to the area
  • Setup in Bulb
  • Multiple 30 second exposures
  • In the desert – f5.6 with ISO of around 200
  • In the city – f8 with a high ISO to prevent the lights from being blown out
  • Lightning Shot
    • That was a close one” within a quarter mile of the strike…camera was mounted on the dashboard taking a shot through the windshield with the wipers on fast.  The exposure was approximately 25 seconds
    • Purple Rain” Hoping for a lightning strike before the rain went over the ridge
    • The Hills are Alive” multiple strikes within 10 seconds
  • Enhance photos with Silver Efex from Nik Software

Goal is for Storm Structure and/or a Tornado


  • Meteorology – Understanding what the weather is going to do is important to stay safe
  • Which storm chasers do you follow – Stephen Locke, Shane Kirk – both from  Kansas…actually follow around 50 from the Midwest.  Mitch Dobrowner...Black & White photography
  • How do you push yourself when shots are based on the luck of the weather…always looking to get a better shot than the previous shot