Storm Timelapse – Lessons Learned

This past weekend there was an opportunity to try some storm photography I had been tracking the weather on the Storm Radar app and saw that NYC was going to have a thunderstorm later in the afternoon. The first location that came to mind was Fort Wadsworth which is near the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island. The overlook is fairly far away from the city but you can still zoom in and see the skyline. I wanted to get further away from the city to see clouds moving.

When I got there it had been raining already in the city (not too visible). I decided to use my 24-120 mm lens and zoom into the city a bit to see the rain clouds. I started shooting at a longer interval (8 seconds) and longer shutter speed (2 seconds). As the rain was coming, I also covered my camera with a rain bag. There was a covered table within 10 feet so I could stay dry in case the rain came.

I was shooting for about 10 minutes and then went out and took a photo with my phone. My phone has a very wide angle lens (IPhone 11) and i quickly realized all the colors and cloud movement was much much wider than my shot.

Wide angle shot from Ft. Wadsworth of New York City

I quickly adjusted my composition and then also adjusted my interval to 2 seconds since the clouds were moving so quickly at this point. I have a Nikon D850 so the resolution is very good (45 MP) and can handle quite a bit of zoom in post processing if I needed any.

The video turned out really cool, however long, because of the 2 second interval. I wish I wouldve started the video earlier and wider to get more of the storm movement as the dynamic clouds were almost out of the scene when I started.

After the storm ended the sunset turned out really beautiful!

Sunset after the storm from Ft. Wadsworth in Staten Island,NY

Check out my posted timelapse in Instagram below!

In summary lessons learned

  1. Shoot wider for storms (15-20 mm)
  2. Use a fast interval (2 seconds or less)

Hopefully I can find some more opportunities in the future!

Thanks for reading


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