Lightning Story

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by JayJay65, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. JayJay65

    JayJay65 TPF Noob!

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    My lighting story
    ---
    "First Time Try"


    Lightning.. Extremely hard, even more fun..

    Yesterday, from about 11pm - 12am I was taking pictures outside of the lightning.. As I was snapping as many shots, and as fast as my camera would let me, it started to rain.. I got very aggrivated, my brother came outside and put his tripod next to us, then it started to rain.. He flew to get something on the porch (rain cant get in, tent above it) and was like, "Jesse!! can you get my tripod?" Im here getting frustrated (rain + lightning = very frustrating) and my brother is asking me to run something over to him.. I ignore him, and finally go towards the porch (forgetting about his tripod by accident) and head off to take pictures on the porch.. The tent above the porch didnt cover all the porch, and it wasnt big.. The table, with chairs took up nearly all the room under the tent/tarp itself.. Basiclly, I got stuck with having to sit on the chair that got my pants and shirt soking wet after an hour of taking pictures..

    Flash.. Bam!.. Bam! Bam!! FLASH.. Lightning shot, split second.. Very hard to capture.. I tried putting my camera on the setting of 32 pictures, 2 per second.. (when you let go, it saves the last 8).. Flash, flash.. I captured a few, I knew that my settings would make it dark, nothing would come out but black unless it created light.. I knew I captured at least 4 lighted pictures, and I knew that it'd be sweet.. After 197 pictures, 1 hr, and a major neck cramp, I went into my brothers room with him while he uploaded his pictures to the computer.. Sat on his bed (yes, still with the damp pants and shirt :sexywink: :greenpbl:) Eagerly, I looked through my pictures.. Came across nothing but just lighted scenery.. NO LIGHTNING.. I was very very pissed off.. All that time to waste.. Then, after looking farther.. Near the end, I found a picture of lightning.. It was gorgous..

    The very painful, tiring trouble it went through to get the shot, was horrible.. The lightning, the sounds, the thrill when you hear your camera click as the LCD screen flashes white, so bright, that you cant see anything else, just pure screen white.. Then checking your camera to see the one shot that you love.. Its amazing..
    ---
    For some reason, I wanted to share that story and follow it up by a question..

    Do you guys have any tips for shooting lightning? After I finish eating, im going to do some research, and later today ill try to post my lighting picture..
     
  2. JayJay65

    JayJay65 TPF Noob!

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  3. JayJay65

    JayJay65 TPF Noob!

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    Any feedback, thoughts, feelings to my story are MORE then welcomed.. If you have a question for me, i'd be MORE then happy to answer it..

    No questions??
     
  4. Garcia

    Garcia TPF Noob!

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    My friend was telling that his teacher for photography only caught lighting once and it was a pretty hard task to do.

    Awesome picture .
     
  5. KMac

    KMac TPF Noob!

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    JayJay65,

    If you ever have a lightening storm when its dark out, try putting your camera on a tripod, setting your shutter to bulb and opening it for longer periods, ranging between 30s and five minutes. During this time, you may be lucky enough to capture several strikes on one picture. If not, just leave it open until you get one strike then close it. If there is a lot of stray light or if it isnt quite dark, the image will be over exposed if you leave the shutter open too long.

    You should probably start with a medium aperture. If its too wide, it will overexpose too quickly but if the aperture is too small, it makes the lightening look less bright and impressive.

    I hope this helps,
    Kevin
     
  6. JayJay65

    JayJay65 TPF Noob!

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    yeah I set my pictures to .25 seconds.. and i did it without a flash and without a tripod.. :)
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The flash would be useless and a tripod should be mandatory.

    I like your photo of the strike, especially the angles of the of the shadowed buildings. Maybe clone out the antenna and power lines.
     
  8. CameronBrown_Photography

    CameronBrown_Photography TPF Noob!

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    yeah, i only did a point and shoot, without a tripod lightning shot, not so great, but i felt lucky to have actually gotten something..blurry

    [​IMG]
     
  9. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

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    Thats what I do. We haven't had any good storms lately though, so its been hard! :wink:
     
  10. John_05

    John_05 TPF Noob!

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    ive lived that story myself trying to get good lightning shots, so i know exactly how you feel. it took me about 3 years of trying to finally get one decent lightning picture. now that i have a camera with full manual control. theyre a lot easier to capture.

    coincidentally, i shot a few tonight during the storm we had. i was seeing flashes every 5 seconds or so, consistently for about 45 minutes. unfortunately, most of the strikes were inside the clouds, so i didnt get many strikes. i just now finished transferring them from the card to the computer, so im not sure how the dozen or o i got look yet, but once ive gone through them, i might post a few from tonight, and a few others from a couple other recent storms i got some good shots in.

    most of the time when i shoot lightning, im sitting on the 10th floor shooting thru slightly tinted glass with a CP filter to try to reduce the glare on the windows, and hoping no one comes in and turns on a light. the shots dont come out as nice as they would if i was able to shoot them outside, but i cant risk ruining my camera in the rain, so i shoot where i can.

    when i do get a storm here i can shoot, i set the camera on my tripod and position it facing the majority of the strikes im seeing, and manually focus on the furthest thing on the horizon. then i set it on bulb and use a remote to activate the shutter. from there, i shoot a couple test shots to see which aperture and shutter speed combination will give me the best results, and then i just shoot a series of pictures if i cant time the strikes. so far its worked pretty well for me, and i can usually get the camera dialed in within 2 test shots. for me, it works a lot better than trying to catch a strike using a burst mode and when all the pictures are exposed the exact same way, it makes it very easy to combine a couple shots so i can see multiple strikes in one image.
     
  11. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    ACK!
    I sure hope it doesnt take me that long!

    I'm thankful that I live out in the middle of nowhere so theres very little if any extra light 'pollution'.

    I've been trying to just leave the shutter open. I've managed to get one little itty bitty strike so far, as most of the lightning lately hasn't been touching the ground.. or at least until it starts raining and I gotta move inside.

    This is the most frusterating thing I've tried to shoot yet.
    The storms we've had lately are crazy and I just can't get over the fact that I haven't been able to capture anything really.
     
  12. John_05

    John_05 TPF Noob!

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    the main reason it took me so long was because i didnt have a camera capable of shooting with anything longer than a 2 second exposure.

    light pollution hasnt been much of a problem for me, but the shots ive gotten where it could have been an issue werent very good anyways because i had to shoot through the CP filter AND a slightly tinted double pane glass.

    i took a couple pretty nice shots while standing on a bridge and under street lights with some other light in the fore and background. luckily, it was just raining and there wasnt much wind, so an umbrella was sufficient enough to keep my camera dry. i havent had much time lately to post them, but i might post them tonight, or tomorrow.

    none of the shots i got last night were worth doing anything with, so i wont be posting them. it was just too foggy/cloudy in the distance to get good clear strikes. thats just my luck though. best storm here in years, and the shooting conditions (and probably my photographic skills) were way below optimal. :lol:
     

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