For years, whenever I know a thunderstorm is approaching I try my best to get out in it. Still attempting to stay safe, but also standing in the wind, rain and lightning to try and capture the power and magic of it all.
I was faced with a challenge recently on a trip where I was caught in a beautiful location, big thunderstorm overhead... but it wasn’t at night and I had forgotten my ND filters! What to do??!!!
Normally capturing lightning strikes I would used long exposures. I did the best I could by shutting down the exposure to f.16, giving me around .5 second shutter speed. Still not slow enough. Luckily the camera I was using had a timelapse or multi shot mode which I could set to take a shot every second. If your camera cannot do this, there are third party intervelometers that can remotely control your camera for this purpose.
So after around 400 shots, I was able to extract several with decent lightning, then in photoshop I stacked the shots which gives the result you would normally get with a long exposure. To tell the difference look at the water and clouds. Not blurred by their own movements at all.
Try it out. It’s not ideal but it was a work around!