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Product Review: MK Controls Lightning Bug

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BY KEITH PATANKAR
Lightning never strikes twice in the same spot. Yet, trying to be in the right spot, out of harm’s way, to capture a beautiful lightning strike with your digital camera can be difficult. You have to keep your equipment out of the elements and keep yourself safe from what sometimes can be a dangerous situation.
The newest tool on the market is the MK Controls Lightning Bug. The Lightning Bug is a camera accessory that fits on top of your hot shoe and triggers your camera when lightning strikes. It connects to your camera with a cable that fits into the pin connection and mini port in your camera. The Lightning Bug works off of a sensor that detects an infrared burst that precedes a lightning strike. It then automatically fires your camera off. The unique part of this tool is the option to adjust the sensitivity of the Lightning Bug. This gives the photographer control and creativity of what to capture. You can dial the sensitivity up for lighting strikes further away in the distance. Or to capture more vivid full lightning strikes, you would lower the sensitivity. You can capture light reflecting off clouds from the strike or full, bright, strikes with all the details. The Lightning Bug even includes a PC port to attach a manual flash for fill-in light on foreground objects. It is sealed against weather and has a rugged design and runs off of one 9V battery.
I had a chance to take the Lightning Bug out in the field to test it. It works, but patience is a virtue. Storms are not always the easiest thing to track down when you are ready to shoot. You have to be prepared for you safety, keep your equipment protected and at the same time try and compose and capture your vision with your camera. I recommend a rain cover for your camera and setting it on a tripod in a safe place or just shooting from your car in front of a large field. The sensitivity gauge on the top is easy to adjust and lights up to show where you are on the scale. I had to change it a few times to get it right to make the camera fire when the lightning was further away. When I was able to finally get a storm that was close enough, I raised the sensitivity to capture more vivid lightning. The only thing with this is the camera did fire several times when the lightning strike was out of frame. So expect to get plenty of throw-away shots. With patience the Lightning Bug is a great accessory for capturing lightning. So if you are looking to capture Mother Nature’s great outdoor electricity, the Lightning Bug is a worthy accessory to bring along.♦
—Keith Patankar works in outside sales, marketing and specialty market at Hunts Photo & Video in Melrose, Mass. Please feel free to contact Patankar directly at 781-462-2340 with any related question.
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