Noob here, some lightning questions

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Projectj128, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Projectj128

    Projectj128 TPF Noob!

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    OK so a few years back I took a picture of lightning with my Sony Digital camera, I used a 30 sec exposure F2.8 blah blah blah, anyway. Since then I have been fascinated with Lightning, I have taken a few pics of lightning and am satisfied with how they came out. I know that alot of people would say go with a digital camera for lightning but well, there is that thing called " I cant afford a decent one"!!! I even had a "pro" tell me that using film is barking up the wrong tree I beg to differ, he recommended me using a Canon 5D mark II, huh well I cant afford a $2,000 body and not to mention decent lenses for it (I'm more of a Nikon guy anyway) So.............

    Here's what I plan on using
    Minolta X-370 with either a 50mm or 24mm lens (I own all 3)
    or a Nikon N80 with a 50mm lens.

    Most pictures will be shot using a Max ISO 400 or much slower film such as 50 or 100 at aperatures of either F8 or F11, any suggestions on what type of film I should use? and what is the max amount of time I should hold the shutter open for?

    Any suggestions comments or criticisms are greatly appreciated
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think the phrase 'It depends, ...' fits this case.

    The location you select will have a bearing on the length of time you can leave the shutter open. If there's lots of light about [city location] you may quickly reach a point where the light overexposes the film. If there's little light [rural location] you can leave the shutter open longer.

    I suspect that almost any film will work, depending on lens speed and the stop selected.

    Trial exposures can be made any evening [no lightning needed] to get an idea of how the local lights will register on the film. Once you have this information, you're set to go.
     
  3. Projectj128

    Projectj128 TPF Noob!

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    Ahhhh yes I knew I forgot to mention something.......... some of it will be in an urban area, the City I live in (Albuquerque) has some of the most awesome displays of lightning during the June and July months, its very dry and hot here and we get summer storms that bring in alot of moisture so it makes for spectacular lightning storms, I will post some of my lightning pictures here today
     
  4. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Shooting lighting on film burns so much film if your doing 30 second exposures. You could shoot a whole role of film and have it not have a good shot
     
  5. bazooka

    bazooka No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Alberquerque would be an awsome place for lightning shots... you guys get a lot of LP storms I believe?
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK.

    Pick a night -- any night. Pick a film -- any film. I'd suggest something around ISO/ASA 200.

    Set up your rig. Pick a stop. I'd suggest f4 or f2.8*. Run a series of exposures beginning with 1 sec., doubled each frame. Do this for 12 frames total and you're up to 1/2 hour. Each frame, btw, translates nicely to one 'zone'.

    Process and examine. From the negs, you can easily pick the maximum optimal exposure time. As each neg is one stop [or one doubling of the film speed] from its neighbor, you've nailed the best exposure time for that site. You can also easily identify the best time for any stop or film speed.

    Then, it's simply a matter of running a series of shots at the pre-determined exposure until you've a good 'catch'.

    Happy hunting.

    *DOF might be a concern, depending on your esthetic sensibilities and the particular scene.
     
  7. Projectj128

    Projectj128 TPF Noob!

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    yes we have tons of them, its awesome because you can just watch lightning for hours on end and never have to worry about getting wet, we do get storms with precip and thats fine by me, I have a few photos of lightning that I took here in the ABQ area.
     
  8. Projectj128

    Projectj128 TPF Noob!

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    to Torus34 I believe that is the best way to do that, I did that when I was taking pictures of the moon and was finding the best exposure for a set phase of the moon, I have a few months to prepare so wish me luck and I will post any and all pictures i believe are worthy!!
     

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