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Thread: Taking Photos Of Lightning.

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Addict geoffsta's Avatar
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    Taking Photos Of Lightning.

    Here is the senario...
    D90... 18 - 105mm f3.5-5.6 Vr Lens
    Remote Timer (Cord type)
    Thunderstorms on their way.

    I've already worked out that I should have the setting on the camera for the remote set at "Bulb" and the ISO at 200.
    What I need to know is the settings on the camera.
    Aperture?
    White Balance?
    Exposure time on remote?
    And anything else that might be able to help out...

    This might help for anyone else trying to do the same..

    Geoff.
    Geoff
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    Ive never done it, but can I play ?


    Aperture? F16
    White Balance? Cloudy
    Exposure time on remote? Expose for the landscape features
    And anything else that might be able to help out...dont become a lightning rod
    Darren
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Aperture and shutter time are going to depend largely on the time of day / night to maintain "ambient" light exposure without blown parts till the actual "strike".

    White balance --- hey, it's a Nikon, auto will work fine.

    Best results will probably be achieved at night time in severe thunderstorm activity when starting out, let me know how you go and I will try it. The thunder and lightning seems to have been a dud at this corner of Gippy.
    Andrew
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    Thanks Guys.
    I'm hoping they will hold off until tonight...
    Checking the radar http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR683.loop.shtml
    I @ M You should get some good shots with no street lights. If you have a look at the national radar http://www.bom.gov.au/products/natio...sat.loop.shtml We could be in for a loud night.

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    Ausphotography Veteran yummymummy's Avatar
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    F16, Aperture Priority, ( picks its own shutter speed) give that a go, I've had no problems with getting lightning shots with my camera set like that.
    oh, and a tripod is a MUST!!!!!
    I'm waiting for the storms to hit here, so far we haven't had any, but I got a cracker of a lightning shot last year
    Happy to take all constructive Critique, please don't rework or edit my photos. Thanks!

    Canon 6D, 2 Canon 50D's gripped, Canon 1000D, Canon 70-200 F2.8 ( non IS),Canon 70-200 2.8, Canon 24-70 2.8, Sigma 85 1.4, Canon 50mm F1.8.. yongnuo speedlights and triggers, and manfrotto tripods.


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    My friends call me Dave
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    Gday Geof you have sparked my interest. Here is my first and only attempt, its the best of around 120 exposures.
    The data says 4.34 am but it was pm so the exposures were around 2 sec, thats why so many shots.
    I focused on the Main area that they were striking, took a 2 sec exposures and hoped I would catch one

    Last edited by Duane Pipe; 06-10-2010 at 4:37pm.
    Canon 7d efs 15-85mm, Sigma 150-500mm. Nicon coolpix 5400


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    that is a top shot
    that lightning was going everywhere
    geoff storms come through bendigo plenty of rain bugger all lightning
    a bit of thunder rolling at the minute
    they are tipping 20mm here tonight
    best of luck with your shots
    cheers macca

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    My friends call me Dave
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    WOW Yummy that's a ripper of a shot very good, I recon the thunder would have been like a bomb, I see you are hiding under shelter though. whats the matter, nothing wrong with fried Chikn
    I have been meaning to ask for advice on how to shoot lightning in safety Geof, I have a great spot but not safe I think.
    Its on Mt Tazzy with 360 views
    Last edited by Duane Pipe; 06-10-2010 at 4:57pm.

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    Thanks people... And a couple of great shots.
    I'll have the camera setup on the back veranda, on a tripod, with the remote shutter, and I have already set the camera to f16.....
    Bring it on

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    Ausphotography Veteran yummymummy's Avatar
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    Thanks I think it's a ripper too, that one won 2nd prize at the local show oh and I wasn't hiding, I was standing on my front verandah cause I wanted to get over the fence lol

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    yummymummy - what a shot! Inspired to try getting a lightning shot now

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    yep, if you're doing it at night try to keep your exposures as short as possible to avoid undue noise. Apeture and ISO will depend on the distance you are from the lightning. I try to keep ISO down as much as possible, and apeture around f5.6-f16. Here's some of mine from last year, looks like i'm not going to get any in Inverloch tonight either:


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    Phew!

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    Well done ZedEx...
    7:45pm and so far just wind and rain... It might be a fizzer.
    The whole family has been on the veranda in anticipation.
    But it's only early.... So I'm heading back out.

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    Member bconolly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips ZedEx!

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    Fabulous ZedEx, love the shots, everyone seems to have it down pat really, needs to be quite dark and tripod with the legs set pretty short, timer cord and all that stuff.

    I use f8 and f11 in Bulb, open the shutter at the point of the last strike, wait for another one and count to 2 after it goes to ground and close the shutter....bit hit and miss but you can get lucky, especially if you don't get hit by the lightning
    Richard
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

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    A Big thanks to everyone for the great advice, and the great photos that were posted.
    But it all turned out to be a big fizzer. Despite the weatherman and weatherzone saying it was going to happen.
    The only thunder was my wife's thunderous laugh at me, for being like a 5 year old waiting for a lolly shop to open.

    The good thing is, with what I've learnt from you guys, I'm ready for the next time.
    Geoff

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    There are quite a few other threads here too.

    I usually set up my tripod and do 15 sec exposures, using a cable release and counting down the time. If the lightning is frequent, I will hold the release until I get one bright or two or three lesser bolts.

    Exposure depends on how much background light there is but start at f8 and go smaller aperture (remember, larger number, so f11 and up to f16/22 etc). Some storms are so bright you need to go all the way to f22, but not often. I generally find round f11 gives me good results.
    Odille

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    Took these tonight. What am I doing wrong?

    Shot 1 - ISO100 f/5 34sec 42mm


    Shot 2 - ISO100 f/5.6 50sec 42mm

  19. #19
    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Foreground is underexposed somewhat, and it looks like the tripod was moving slightly, was it rock solid? It needs to be for exposures of that length. If it is a lens with VR/IS then turn it off while it is on the tripod, and if possible weight the tripod down from the centre column if it s windy.

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    There was only a really slight breeze and I think this camera may be a tad heavy for the tripod I have. IS was turned on so will make sure thats off next time round. Other than that are the settings pretty right? The storm was quite a long way off in the distance.

    Just need some more lightning now

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