How the heck do you shoot lightning?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bbaker35, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. bbaker35

    bbaker35 TPF Noob!

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    I am real dissapointed in myself. I thought I knew alot, but now I'm wondering. There have been some excellent chances for me to shoot some lightning from my house overlooking the lake in the last few days, but I haven't been able to get anything at all. I have had my 350D set on manual with the aperture set as high as it will go (22+) and a slow shutter speed (2-30 Sec.) I do not have my tripod, but can set the camera on a table so it will not move. All I was able to capture was a black screen. What am I doing wrong???


    Thanks,
    Ben
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You shouldn't need to stop down to f/22. f/8 will probably be fine. What I would suggest is getting a black piece of mat board, and setting your camera to bulb, use a remote switch, and lock the shutter open. Place the matboard in front of the lens. When you sense that a strike is imminent, remove the matboard and capture the strike. You'll want to capture several strikes, replacing the matboard in front of the lens each time, to reduce extraneous light. If you were out in the middle of nowhere with very little light pollution you wouldn't need to use the matboard.
     
  3. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    Shooting Lightning is very similar to shooting Fireworks. There are all sorts of guides around (try Google for examples) on that. Manual Mode is a must - On my D50, I usually do a 15 or 30 second exposure. I mess around with the aperture until I find one that's exposing properly, and then stick with that. A remote is also very useful.
     
  4. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    A quick Google search or a forum search should turn up some good tutorials on photographing lightning. Here's a decent one that I got from Google. Photographing lightning takes a steady camera, a long exposure, and a good bit of luck (that the lightning strikes inside your frame while the shutter is open). I would highly recommend using a tripod and getting outside so you have more control of where you point the camera. Also, like Matt said, you shouldn't need an aperture as small as f/22 unless you're using something like ISO 400 or higher, or if you're shooting at daytime (but nighttime is much better for capturing lightning).
     

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