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Thread: Lightning Photography Techniques

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    Question Lightning Photography Techniques

    Hi guys,

    I'd like to hear a bit more about preferred techniques for lightning photography, now that I'm back up in Brisbane, and this weekend is supposed to be another 'good' one.

    Up til now I've been doing exposure times of between about 4 and 10 seconds, taking lots of pictures, then picking out the ones where lightning actually hit.


    Any other techniques to try out?


    {edit: these were taken a few weeks ago, tripod, exposure around 4sec. I'd taken a few more with exposures around 10sec as well}
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    Last edited by random; 05-12-2008 at 8:15am.
    http://bleepy-smurf.deviantart.com/

    Nikon D80, 18-200VR, 50mm F1.4, 18-135

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    Member David Kembrey's Avatar
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    Hi Random, have a look at this site, has some great information on how to photograph lightning


    http://www.hillsrain.com/lightning/lightning_tute.shtml
    C&C most welcome, please if reworks are made post what adjustments etc have been made so I can learn from them

    Thanks

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    Nice! Thanks David.

    I have the little IR remote (saw it at a shop once for something really cheap like $10 or $15 and just picked it up). But I didn't realize I could use that.

    I've figured out how to use the right settings and trigger from that, so I will check it out - probably tonight if the weather-man has got his act together.

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    Another good tip is to perhaps try shooting in jpeg, as when you shoot long exposures in raw, it just takes ages for the camera (which ever camera body your using) to buffer it into the memory card. This is precious seconds before you can setup to fire off the next shot. Ideally you want to be firing off as many shots as you can, at whatever exposure you've decided to shoot at (i preference anything above f/12 and with a shutter speed of 20-30secs, underexposed by about 1-2 stops)

    Goodluck! Stay safe, Storm chasing is fun!

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    Aha! that happens! yeah. and that's why i was slowing down the exposure time a bit.

    I have a few tips to try out tonight!

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    Thanks for the thread and the link. Good info here.
    Michael.

    Camera: Canon EOS 400D w/ Battery Grip (BG-E3)
    Lenses: Sigma 10-20, Sigma 24-70, Canon 50 f/1.8 & Sigma 70-200
    Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.4 and Photoshop CS3
    Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrjorge/

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    Member David Kembrey's Avatar
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    The times that I have managed to photograph lightning with the SLR, its just been a case of point at where the storm is, press teh shutter button on cable release count to 10 or 15 secs and close the shutter, of course works well when you have a really active storm. The way I used to take storm photos on the P&S was just use continuous mode and keep firing.

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    Tim aka Hillsrain produces some very nice lightning and from his home location he has awesome views also.

    Around the city, unfortunately this reduces the amount of time you can keep the shutter open for.

    You will always miss strikes as each storm is different and different settings are needed, you vary the aperture settings to get the bolt right, you adjust the exposure settings to get the foreground/background right.

    Lightning is a flash event, you use it to your advantage and hope for the best.

    Don't be disappointed, even the best lightning photoraphers will go through hundreds of shot for that one special shot.

    Treat Lightning like kids, it will sit there for a little while but it will eventually move away.

    Watching storms and learning how they behave will increase your chances at getting a better shot.

    Keep away from areas that are prone to flooding.

    Although difficult at times, try and stay of a thunderstorm, most of the time the lightning will be clearer and out of the main rain curtain.

    Be careful during thunderstorms, I know a couple of good friends who have been indirectly "hit" by lightning, it comes quick, and almost without a warning. It's that one strike that could end your life.
    Andrew.
    comments and criticisms are always appreciated.
    Unless I post into the "NOT FOR CRITIQUE" section then the above doesn't apply.


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