capturing lightning (storms). Some Tips?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by darkpbstar, May 16, 2008.

  1. darkpbstar

    darkpbstar TPF Noob!

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    ok so when I get my camera one of the things I want to photograph are storms. I've always been intrigued by storms, tornados, and differnt cloud formations, the scary looking dark storm clouds, and lightning. Do you have any tips for getting the lightning shots? Do you just sit and wait until it strikes and hope you react fast enough? With a Nikon D40, is there full auto, or can I at least snap a few rapid shots so I can make sure I get a good picture? Thanks alot again, you have all been extremely helpful, and I know how it can be when you are experienced and are trying to help out the new guys, but I'm really interested, and really looking forward to getting into photography. I've always enjoyed taking pictures, (P&S only so far) and I take pictures everyday at work for our website, pictures of cars (car dealership). so again, I thank you.

    Regards
     
  2. TLI

    TLI TPF Noob!

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    The best successful way to do it is to get a good storm with persistent lightening. The more often there are ground-to-cloud strikes the more likely you'll get good shots. Second is to set up your camera on a tripod and take a few test shots, in manual to get the correct exposure. Once this is done set the camera on bust mode and just take as many as you can until you can get some shots. Oh, and the faster the memory card you have the better. Best of luck and don't die trying
     
  3. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

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    Tight aperture and long exposure. Even with a P&S, you can get lucky sometimes. Focus at infinity, crank the aperture all the way, and experiment with the shutter speed until you like what you're getting. Lightning strikes are over long before your brain can even process that they've started, so trying to catch one by reacting to it is pretty much impossible.

    Of course, for the shutter to stay open long enough to have much hope of catching a strike without just overexposing everything, it's going to need to be pretty dark. I've gotten a few decent night lightning shots with an S730 mostly by just sitting out there filling up a memory card with 8 second exposures. Depending on the lightning, it can even get a lot of definition into the clouds, and sometimes the landscape as well.

    We've still got some storm season left, so if anyone wants to send me a D40 to try, I'll see what I can figure out. :mrgreen:
     
  4. ThePup

    ThePup TPF Noob!

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    Lightning - Get a cable release for your camera, set the camera on a tripod, smallish apeture, focus infinity and set Bulb mode. Point to a dark spot of sky, hold the shutter open, wait for lightning strike, close shutter. Done.

    Actually, that was for film, worked OK for me, digital may start to introduce more noise if it's open longer, not tried it yet....

    Also, try and find something interesting for framing or foreground in the shot - Lots of shots of black with lightning, whilst impressive, gets repetative after a while :) Something in the foreground may require shorter exposures - Just point towards the most lightning, expose for the foreground (Still in the order of 10 seconds or more in all likleyhood) and hope theres a strike in frame. Repeat until there is a strike in frame....
     

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