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Thread: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

  1. #1

    Default First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    I noticed from the recent storm around here that there was a large amount of lightning, so I grabbed my camera and ran outside. I'd never had the slightest notion to take a picture of lightning before yesterday, but something "struck" me to do so.

    I learned from taking pictures of cardinals that holding the button down halfway to "pre-focus" the lens was the best way.

    After a few duds and misfires, I finally caught an arc, albeit small, but this is still my first lightning photograph, and I thought I'd share it with everybody:



    I wasn't satisfied with this, because of all the arcs I'd seen, this was the smallest one. So, I waited a while, and let the clouds get somewhat darker, and began snapping again:



    Bingo! I finally got one. I know there are better pictures of it out there (just Google it) but this was a first-time experience for me.
    "There is darkness round but I see only light."
    -Bernard


  2. #2

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    P.S....

    If you all have any pictures of lightning, please feel free to post, I'd like to see them.
    "There is darkness round but I see only light."
    -Bernard


  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Nice shots, Andy. I've never been lucky enough to catch a bolt like that.

    Geoff

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Neat shot Andy - and congratulations on catching it! Lightning's definitely hard to photograph, but definitely worth it when you do.

    By the way, one other trick you might find helpful is using a longer exposure. If your camera has manual settings, try programming it for a really long shutter speed (say, 15-30 seconds), and then just compensating with a really tiny f-stop setting. (After all, if your camera is "watching" the scene for 30 seconds, you have a much better chance of catching the lighting when it does occur!).

    Hope this helps! Thanks again for sharing these great pics.

    - FITP
    Obscenely bright or unbelievably tiny are my weaknesses...

  5. #5

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashInThePan View Post
    Neat shot Andy - and congratulations on catching it! Lightning's definitely hard to photograph, but definitely worth it when you do.

    By the way, one other trick you might find helpful is using a longer exposure. If your camera has manual settings, try programming it for a really long shutter speed (say, 15-30 seconds), and then just compensating with a really tiny f-stop setting. (After all, if your camera is "watching" the scene for 30 seconds, you have a much better chance of catching the lighting when it does occur!).

    Hope this helps! Thanks again for sharing these great pics.

    - FITP
    Dont forget the Tripod!
    Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. - 3 Nephi 12:16

  6. #6

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Here's one I took a while back. The rain and reflection are actually Photoshop creations.


  7. #7
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    lightning is really difficult. However, there is an "easier" way to do it.

    Back in the summer, we had a couple of serious storms, one of which was whilst I was at the summerhouse. The outside light is a PIR and was reacting BEFORE the lightning flashed. The idea that there's a large bolt of Infrared before the main strike is known and proven - this really did clinch it for me.
    So I'm going to build an IR trigger. There are several descriptions on line of how to do it - I just need to get on with it. Storms are pretty rare here, though, so it's difficult to justify the time.

    ah yes, a link: http://www.astro.uni-bonn.de/~kbagschi/blitze.shtml

    Bret

  8. #8

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    That's a nice Photoshop, I must say. Looks pretty real. Thanks for the help with the shutter speed, and the link in the last post. I'll use these next time I have batteries, lol.
    "There is darkness round but I see only light."
    -Bernard


  9. #9

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Bretti,
    Thats interesting info. I didn't realize that there was an IR "Preflash" with lightning. Let us know how your IR trigger works.

  10. #10

    Arrow Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Some really spectacular examples -

    Lightning Photography pictures photographs weather picture photos ...

    There are lots more via -
    Lightning Photography - Links

    There was a program on the Discovery Channel program from the series Raging Planet - on Lightning. There was a very enthusiastic photographer who was obsessed with lightning photography - David Stillings - here's a web page of his photos -

    http://www.gographics.com/lightning/

    Some helpful tips -

    Lightning Photography - Photo Tips

    Photography techniques: How to photograph lightning

  11. #11

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    UnknownVT,
    Great links. Thanks for sharing.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Camera on a tripod, manual settings,

    Now I can see the darkness .

  13. #13

    Default Re: First-time Lightning Photography (for me)

    Wow, this thread is making my contributions look primary. I like the tripod photo will. Great work on that! It looks "old-timey" too.
    "There is darkness round but I see only light."
    -Bernard


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