Shooting Lightning...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ImageArray, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. ImageArray

    ImageArray TPF Noob!

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    Hello! I'm wondering if anyone gets any good shots of lightning? We had an awesome storm this evening and I grabbed my camera. Needless to say I only got 2 shots where anything showed up and they are both horrible!!! I didn't not use continuous mode on my camera but thinking I should have???

    #1 was an error shot, I still had my flash on but I really liked the image, caught the rain falling and I thought it looked like diamonds lol.

    #2 & #3 are both my pathetic attempts at getting lightning on camera. Needless to say it did not work out at all.

    For those who shoot weather, what tips can you give me for shooting storms? I would LOVE to get a decent shot of lightning some day.

    #1.
    [​IMG]

    #2.
    [​IMG]

    #3.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You want to use a long shutter speed for lightning. By long I mean... 30 seconds or more even. You get a correct exposure by using a small aperture, like f/18 or f/22. I'm not sure what camera you're using, but most point and shoot and hybrid cameras can't do extended exposures (my fuji was limited to 8 seconds). Then you want to manually focus to infinity and hope to capture something while the shutter's open.
     
  3. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My lightning recipe:

    Tripod
    Wide angle
    Buildings or other elements to juxtapose the lightning with/against
    Long shutter (usually 30 seconds, depending on how dark it is out)
    Tight aperture
    Focus set to infinity and locked down
    Lots of frames - most will be throwaways - once in a while, you get a 'keeper':

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. 20civic04

    20civic04 TPF Noob!

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    x2, just do what he said and sooner or later you'll get some good pics. also you can look on flickr at lightning pictures or anything else for that matter and sometimes it will show you all the settings that were used when taking the picture.
     
  5. DerekSalem

    DerekSalem TPF Noob!

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    Wow! One of the best-looking Lightning pictures I've ever seen!

    I'm guessing this was shot in RAW and then the WB was edited in post? Amazing coloring and light!
     
  6. israel09

    israel09 TPF Noob!

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    yes, that sky is terrifyingly great
     
  7. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thank you kindly!

    Yes, I always shoot RAW. The WB needed very little adjustment. Note the light inside the house and the tail lights going down the road during the exposure - they're fairly accurate, I think.

    The clouds themselves were already pretty cool looking straight out of the camera, but I did apply some burning to them using an overlay blend mode, which really brought them to life. Then I applied a graduated cooling filter to the top of them to give the composition as a whole a more intriguing color palette.
     
  8. KKJUN

    KKJUN TPF Noob!

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    What about setting the camera to "Bulb", and then just exposing until there's some lightning?
     
  9. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    1. As long as it's dark enough that you don't end up over-exposing, that'll work too. You can, of course, use ND filters and so on to compensate further for even longer exposures.

    But...

    2. The longer the exposure, the more noise you'll have in the final image.

    3. The longer the exposure, the longer it takes for the camera to process it so that you can take the next image (that period is usually when the best lightning strikes - I think it's one of Murphy's laws! LOL).

    I find that 30 second exposures one right after the other work well for me, but it's certainly not the only way to work (nor necessarily even the best - just works for me :)).
     
  10. mwcfarms

    mwcfarms No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I caught a couple on film this summer using the 30 secs exposure trick also. Just one right after the other lol. It wasnt quite dark yet so any longer and I might have overexposed. I stood out there for half an hour or longer just click, click, click. Was just lucky I guess.

    ND filters for this, hmmm I might have to try that, although the season is wrong now. Thanks for the tips buckster.
     
  11. mmartin

    mmartin TPF Noob!

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    Wow, first shot is incredible.
     
  12. bazooka

    bazooka No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Thanked" for the tips. I recently tried during the day with a polarizer and 3 stop ND, but still only achieved about a 4 sec shutter speed @ f/16 or 18. Do you stack ND's during the day? I did get one strike though, but don't have it hosted to share at the moment.
     

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