As we all know very well by this point, the world is coming to an end on Friday. You know, the skies will open up right around 11:11 a.m. and all sorts of nasty things will happen. We may not be absolutely sure of which unfounded predictions are going to occur first or what form the devastations will manifest as, but for the purposes of this tutorial I’ll just assume all of the very worst circumstances by mashing all of them together.

Image courtesy of

As a photographer, this frankly sounds like an exciting opportunity for some portfolio-grade landscape shots. Yes, yes, I know I probably won’t have much of a portfolio left once the world falls into irreversible turmoil, but I’d like to try my hand at some challenging photos just before the ground opens up beneath me.

I intend to be as well-suited and industrious as Dennis Hopper’s seedy photographer from Apocalypse Now, sporting gear-galore and ready for anything (sans the severed heads… unfortunately Marlon Brando won’t be reprising his role for this apocalypse).

So much so that I’ve already begun to plan what settings I’ll use and what equipment to bring along. So I figured I’d share my thoughts with like-minded photographer diehards. Here’s what I’ve got so far…

Wide angle lens

There’s bound to be an impressive sprawl of catastrophic subject matter at the end of the world, so you’re going to want that wide angle lens on the end of your camera. While an 18-55mm would be a decent pick, my wide lens of choice is an 11-16mm f/2.8.

A fisheye would make for some interesting results as well. I’ve always been reluctant to invest in specialty lenses for their niche appeal, but there’s no excuse not to empty my bank account if the dollar’s worth is about to go out the window with everything else. Am I right?

Tripod + sandbags

If you’re serious about capturing the best scenes of the rapture, you’re going to need considerable stability. With the possibilities of gale-force winds, make sure you screw that camera down to a tripod and hang a sandbag or two from the frame for good measure.

Lens hood + rain gear

A lens hood would be a wise shooting accessory for a few reasons. The intense radiance from solar storms and raging infernos is bound to create some awful lens flares, which can be easily avoided with the twist of a hood. Additionally, you’ll need to keep the torrential rain and debris away from the end of your lens.

Image courtesy of B&H Photo

Another guard against the rain is a waterproof cover. Make sure you have one with a transparent back and viewfinder attachment that will allow you to view your settings and look through the lens.

Circular polarizing filter

The hammering precipitation and furious blazes will likely create unwanted glare and light aberrations in your images. The way to remedy this situation is by throwing a circular polarizing filter on the front of your glass.

Images courtesy of Olivia Speranza (Just imagine less foliage and more fire and brimstone)

This type of filter works by blocking out stray directional light, and by only allowing one range of light ray to enter the camera, the reflective inconsistencies are dispelled. The photographer does need to allow for a loss of one to two stops of light when using a polarizer due to its dark tint, but the tradeoff is well worth it.

Remote shutter release

An unprecedented amount of airborne debris is going to be flying around once the tornadoes begin to tear apart our towns and cities. You’re naturally going to have to shoot from a safe vantage point, but it may take a little more to get the very best photos of the madness without dying.

Image courtesy of miggslives

Having a remote shutter release should be a serious consideration, and could very well save your life in this scenario (or at least allow you to live long enough to share your awesome photos with someone else!). When the boulders start flying, you’ll be able to duck for cover while the shutter goes off and come away with some impressive exposures.

Use a high f stop

Using a high f stop (something between 5.6 and 16) is going to give you a greater depth of field. Be sure that all of those ominous details are in focus, from the proverbial horsemen galloping toward you in the foreground to the extraterrestrial motherships discharging lasers in the background.

Use a high ISO

It’s bound to be pretty dark at the end of the world (at least until the fires and explosions ensue), so you’ll want to crank your ISO up to coincide with the stopped-down aperture. It depends on your camera’s sensor, of course, but somewhere between 800 and 3200 should make up for the shoddy illumination.

Change up your shutter speed

Honestly, environmental conditions are bound to change quickly and drastically, so varying your camera’s shutter speed is going to be essential. When those impenetrable clouds blot out the sun, keep exposures around 1/30. Alternatively you’ll want to push your shutter speed up between 1/100 and 1/250 once there’s more light and more action.

Don’t be afraid to get creative, too! Experiment with different shutter speeds to capture all those sweet lightning strikes and long-exposure cloud swirls.

So there you have it, friends. I hope this article has been of exceptional use to you, and I wish you all the best of luck in your last photographic endeavors!