Lightning Pics for C&C

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by NC Labman, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. NC Labman

    NC Labman TPF Noob!

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    Lightning was working pretty hard north of my house last night and having never shot lightning before I thought I would give it a whirl. I wasn't sure how to approach this so I set the camera to full manual and adjusted shutter speed/aperture until the result looked right to me. Most were shot at 20 second shutter and 22 aperture. I have cropped to improve composition on some of these, but that has also made them grainy. I think the third shot is my favorite. How would you have approached differently or improved the results?

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  2. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Those came out nice. Yes they are grainy but, you did catch the lightning, which was the point.
     
  3. ShotGunNik

    ShotGunNik TPF Noob!

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    the third shot is my favorite, but I agree on the grainy look. What's your set up?
     
  4. bigboi3

    bigboi3 TPF Noob!

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    I wish we had lightning storms here in Cali... great capture of them!!
     
  5. NC Labman

    NC Labman TPF Noob!

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    Canon 40D with 28-135mm lens. Shot at ISO 400, focal length varied but was generally between 50 and 85mm. I shot a large portion of the sky and then cropped to achieve the composition I wanted. If I had it to do over again I would have taken a smaller section of sky so less cropping was required. I have a few more things I want to try tonight to edit them.
     
  6. ShotGunNik

    ShotGunNik TPF Noob!

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    Oh ok nice, 40D. Great lense too! Yea, I can see how the cropping would provide more grain of a look too. I've never taken shots at night, so I'm sure its pretty challenging lol.

    Yea, stuff like this is probably the ONLY reason why I miss living in Texas, great lighting storms lol.
     
  7. NC Labman

    NC Labman TPF Noob!

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    I tried some noise reduction and different crops. Any better?

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  8. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Yes sir, these last two are dead on I think. I've been trying to catch lightning forever now, but every time I try, it starts pouring down rain, so the camera has to be put up. These are very inspiring however, and very nice to look at. Job well done :)
     
  9. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Yep, those shots are purty. Well done. And noise reduction helps. However...

    It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but with long-exposures, and particularly those at night, you should shoot at the lowest ISO available. Noise is caused by stray light hitting the sensor at sideways (and other odd) angles, but it's usually not as intense as the light coming through the lens. However, the sensor will register that stray light when it enters a sensor "pixel" if the ISO is set high enough. Hope you follow...

    Now, think of the amount of noise you get shooting at ISO 400, or 800, at a decently fast shutter speed; say 1/60 or 1/125. It's not bad (well, depending on the camera; on my 450D the 1600 setting is nasty), but the noise will likely be noticeable. Now think of how much more stray light gets a chance to drunkenly crash into your sensor when it's exposing for much longer, like 20 whole seconds. You'll get quite a bit more visible noise in the end result.

    Furthermore, going to a lower ISO will let you stop-up the aperture a little to reduce the diffraction that starts creeping in at around f/16 on APS-C's.
     
  10. KAikens318

    KAikens318 TPF Noob!

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    I really wish we had thunderstorms like that around here in NH. I would love to capture something like that. I was thinking about storm chasing at one point but I don't really live where there are severe storms! Great job!
     
  11. Josh220

    Josh220 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Great shots. The 2 refined images are much better IMO
     
  12. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    The easy answer to that is get a nice aluminum car shelter or something and shoot from under that. ;)

    (Proud graduate of the Homer Simpson School of Lightning Safety)


    EDIT: Awesome pics, Labman... lightning is something that I really want to try to shoot. Now that I'm more or less done saving for a camera, I'm starting to save for a storm chasing vacation next summer.
     

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