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How to Capture lightning, A mini how to.

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  • How to Capture lightning, A mini how to.

    Ok this is just a mini how to.. putting down what i learnt over the last few nights...

    First things you will need..
    • Camera that can be set on Bulb (tho i admire those people like my auntie that can capture lighting with P&S cameras , If i can find the photo i have of hers ill post it )
    • Tripod
    • Remote/cable release
    • Raincoat/Umbrella
    • Big plastic garbage bag
    Set you Aperture to f11/f16 and Shutter to Bulb with camera on tripod
    set you lens to infinity its best to use a wide angle lens.. i use my 18-70mm be careful of your foreground... make sure your composition is pleasing...

    Open up your shutter using your remote/cable i found out last night if i leave it open for a few seconds after the lighting strikes i get a pretty good shot dont leave your shutter long than 2 mins... if you havn't had a strike...

    reset and start again...

    the big plastic bag is to throw over the camera and tripod before you make a run for cover storms generally if moving fast will catch you unaware like they did to me last night...lol

    my first attempt at this

    with S. 35sec and A. set to f16 ISO 100



    To night if it comes again.. ill go over to the grave yard next door to get away from our street lights... This is also just trial and error.. I will also post any findings I come across back here ^.^
    I was quiet surprised how easy it is if the lightning is coming in hard and fast with plenty of opportunities
    Last edited by NaturesPixel; 08-25-2007, 12:54 PM.
    Cheers
    Leisa

    Nikon D80 | Sigma 50-500mm EX DG HSM | Sigma APO 70-300 | Sigma 50mm macro | Nikon 50mm 1.8 | Nikkor 18-70mm | Lensbaby 2.0 | SB-800 Speedlight | Black Macbook C2D
    Little pixels from my world . Flickr

  • #2
    Timing

    The hardest part for me is to have the shutter triggered when the lightning comes. I will try you settings if we ever get rain again here in KY.

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    • #3
      What kind of camera do you have??
      if you have one that has Bulb setting you can leave it open until after you get a strike...
      another idea is .. which i havn't tried as last night the lightning was coming in fast..

      is use a Aperture of F16-f22 and leave shutter longer... you can also use a Black card to place over the lens.. to cut down on the light getting in between Strikes... but that does require better timing..
      Cheers
      Leisa

      Nikon D80 | Sigma 50-500mm EX DG HSM | Sigma APO 70-300 | Sigma 50mm macro | Nikon 50mm 1.8 | Nikkor 18-70mm | Lensbaby 2.0 | SB-800 Speedlight | Black Macbook C2D
      Little pixels from my world . Flickr

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      • #4
        WoW, I really love this, We are getting alot of storm lately and I'm going to spend some time on this.
        If at first you don't succeed, give up sky diving.
        Feel free to edit and repost my photos on DPS
        Canon 50D / Rebel XTi, several lens, / PS CS4 / Lightroom 2 / Elements 7
        My flickr - www.johnslaughterbeck.com

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        • #5
          Leisa,
          You're going to the graveyard to do this? I can't wait to see those photos. They have to be spectacular just from the location alone.
          Mike

          If you're just surviving, failure is not far behind. - Sharon Wood (first woman from North America to summit Mt Everest)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mikem12188 View Post
            Leisa,
            You're going to the graveyard to do this? I can't wait to see those photos. They have to be spectacular just from the location alone.
            No electrical storm tonight for us nor for the next week atleast ... ill keep waiting ^.^
            Cheers
            Leisa

            Nikon D80 | Sigma 50-500mm EX DG HSM | Sigma APO 70-300 | Sigma 50mm macro | Nikon 50mm 1.8 | Nikkor 18-70mm | Lensbaby 2.0 | SB-800 Speedlight | Black Macbook C2D
            Little pixels from my world . Flickr

            Comment


            • #7
              there are two method for capturing lighting.
              1st method is you set iso like 100 or 200, aperture 11 and maybe more. And shutter at 10 - 15 secs. If there is a lot of lightnings, then ju just release the shutter, drink your coffe, and release again Prety wierd ? Well you need a tripod, manual focus only, and mirroc lockup.
              2nd method. this one is theoretical, but i'm tinking about making it.
              You need a very sensible light sensor, and prety fast relay.
              U set a light sensor, to the highest sensitivity, and connect to relay, that will trigger dslrts shutter Scheme is prety easy, ~ 10 - 15 mins of work.
              Such method was tried on microfone that releases shutter
              I go there, i go here - i'm lost :/ Litteraly lost, cant find ESC button in the park :/ But who cares, i have google

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              • #8
                well storm season has started and i've been out chasing lightning. i use eos350d(8mp) and looking at what average file size do people get if shooting in raw?
                a good site with tips on lightning i found(as well as all things above) is www.weatherscapes.com
                after reading that site tempted to take the old film camera out when i get a new tripod.
                flickr
                redbubble

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                • #9
                  I only ever shoot in RAW but I have to say, if you don't usually do this, at least put it to good use when shooting lightning. The strong contrasts are better captured in 12 or 16bit colour than they are at 8bit JPEG.

                  Storm season is due to start here soon as well. We've had a few through but I keep finding myself in too lazy a mood to do anything other than capture from my back windows. Most of my better storm chase shots land here: in my gallery, including my favorite digital multiple exposure taken from home:


                  This was shot using the following settings for all of the required shots, all from the same static point in that space of about two minutes. Taken using very short exposure times due to the high frequency of the lightning and because of the very bright lights from the homes in the near vicinity.
                  EXIF:
                  DateTime Original: 2007:10:08 18:20:37
                  Digital Zoom Ratio: 1
                  Exposure Bias: -0.66666666666667 EV
                  Exposure Mode: 1
                  Exposure Program: Manual
                  Exposure Time: 1/0 sec
                  FNumber: f 7.1
                  File Source: Digital Still Camera
                  Flash: No Flash
                  Focal length: 18 mm
                  Gain Control: 0
                  ISO: 200
                  Make: NIKON CORPORATION
                  Max Aperture: f 3.5
                  Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
                  Model: NIKON D70
                  Mark Greenmantle, Brisbane, Australia greenmantle.biz
                  Freelance shooter (editorial/commercial/weddings), Production Manager at Digilab Professional

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                  • #10
                    How do you get the sky color to be more on the blue side, as in the examples so far in this thread?
                    When I take lightning shots my sky is always black. Or, in a few of them the sky had a sepia tone to it. Like the one below:
                    Lightning 6
                    Camera:Canon 300D, Canon 30D Lenses:Canon EFS 18-55mm 3.5-5.6|Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 APO Macro| Bower AF Superwide .42x fisheyeOther:Sunpak PF30X external flash

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                    • #11
                      Very easy to correct with GIMP (free) Piknik (free) or Photo$hop (not even close to free)

                      30 seconds in Picnik gave me this

                      Lightning 6
                      "A wise man speaks because he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something." -aristotle.
                      Nikon D70s, 18-55 kit lens, 55-200 VR, 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8
                      creativecommons.org - Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike
                      My "Best shots" on Flickr

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rikkersc View Post
                        How do you get the sky color to be more on the blue side, as in the examples so far in this thread?
                        When I take lightning shots my sky is always black. Or, in a few of them the sky had a sepia tone to it. Like the one below:
                        Lightning 6

                        You can shoot in a whitebalance mode that pushes the hue towards blue, it changes for most camera types as to the colour mode they call it, and alternatively you can choose the white balance temp you want to make the most of the sky colour.

                        I post process my RAW shots in Adobe Lightroom as a batch to ensure that all of my shots (especially if I plan on merging them) have the same whitebalance. Lightroom is far cheaper than photoshop and does enough for me that I usually only need to open photoshop if I am merging shots or retouching models.
                        Mark Greenmantle, Brisbane, Australia greenmantle.biz
                        Freelance shooter (editorial/commercial/weddings), Production Manager at Digilab Professional

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                        • #13
                          There's no hard and fast rule on aperture for lightning photos, but a good start is at f/5.6. As the lightning get closer and brighter then drop down anywhere up to f/11.

                          Here's just one of many shots that I've taken:



                          The rest can be found in my website gallery under Weather.
                          Osprey Photography
                          My RedBubble
                          Canon: 5D Mk II, 40D, 10D all gripped, Canon Lenses: 16-35 f2.8L II, 24-70mm f2.8L, 70-200mm f2.8L IS, 17-40mm f4L, 24-105mm f4L IS, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS 10-22mm f3.5-4.5, TS-E 17mm f4L, 50mm f1.4, 100mm f2.8 Macro, EF 1.4xII Extender

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                          • #14
                            Nathan,
                            it says your image is unavailable. I'd be interested to see what it looked like.
                            Camera:Canon 300D, Canon 30D Lenses:Canon EFS 18-55mm 3.5-5.6|Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 APO Macro| Bower AF Superwide .42x fisheyeOther:Sunpak PF30X external flash

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                            • #15
                              Osprey - that is an amazing shot!
                              Nikon D800e, D300, D5000, NIKON GLASS 85mm F/1.8 D, 105mm f/2.8 Micro AF-S VR, 70-200 AF-S VR f/2.8, 28-300 AF-S VRII,10.5mm Fisheye, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, TC-20E III AF-S, Sigma 12-24 HSM, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM, Sigma 150-500 OS, 2 SB-600 Speedlights, SB-900 speedlight, 4 YN-622N transceivers, Manfrotto 190MF3 tripod & 322RC2 ball grip head. - NJ, USA
                              Flickr Photobucket
                              Ok to edit and repost my shots on DPS forums

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