Taking pics of thunderstorm?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RTXPIX, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. RTXPIX

    RTXPIX TPF Noob!

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    I have a P&S camera and want to take some pics of a thunderstorm, what is the best setting to use? My camera does have aperature and shutter priorty.
     
  2. RTXPIX

    RTXPIX TPF Noob!

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    41 views and no replies. Was this a dumb question?
     
  3. Speedy

    Speedy TPF Noob!

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    My guess would be not so much a dumb question, but a question we don't know the answer to.
     
  4. bemmermazda

    bemmermazda TPF Noob!

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    You have to meter, there is no right setting.
     
  5. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    No, this is how the internet works; online, you can actually know with hard numbers that most people don't reply to your questions instead of merely suspecting it.

    That said, maybe your question is a little vague. The easiest answer is "try them both, in addition to auto mode". It takes shorter to know what results each one will produce than it took you to write this (i am assuming that you shoot digital here...).

    That said too, you know that you will be shooting in low light, but it still depends on what you want to shoot. If you want to shoot stuff like trees bent by the wind, use shutter priority and try to freeze their movement. Using a tripod or improvising ways to hold your camera still (just put it down somewhere) will probably help a lot. You should worry more about exposure in general, and try spot metering mode if your camera has it.

    I hope that helps with all your questions.
     
  6. Chibamonkey

    Chibamonkey TPF Noob!

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    Where I live, thunderstorms (really big ones, the supercell variety) are a common and almost a daily occurance in the spring and summer. I plan on taking lots of shots starting here in a couple of months, and my battle plan is to experiment A LOT!!! I have never shot storms w/ a DSLR, so my learning curve is going to be huge, but I am really excited about what may come about.

    Digital is cheap, so takes lots of shots and keep track of what you do w/ each shot.

    Good luck, and stay dry!
     
  7. John_Olexa

    John_Olexa No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you mean the cloud formation of thunderstorms, then treat it like any landscape image use a small aperature. F/8 -F/16

    Set your camera on a sturdy tripod that is heavy enough not to blow over in the wind, as this helps keep photos really sharp, especially in the low-light conditions around an approaching thunderstorm. Take a minute to look at the landscape and try to incorporate some of it into the photo. This makes the photo more interesting, but also helps give perspective of the scale of the storm. I always lock my camera's focus on infinity when taking storm photos as the auto focus often fails to lock onto the storm
    clouds.

    Now if you mean Lightning.. forget it with a P&S you need a camers with a bulb setting. The speed of lightning is about 18,6000 miles per sec. the strike last's only a few milliseconds !!!!! you need to be REALLY quick, better yet REALLY lucky to keep tripping the shutter and catching a bolt... It has been done but you have a better chance of being struck by lightning then catching it. LOL
     
  8. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    Since this is the beginner's place let me just say that digital already does for you! Each photo that you take contains information on time, date, ISO, aperture seting, shutter speed, focal length and more. This is called the metadata, or EXIF info and you can read it with most software, including your camera's in most cases.
     
  9. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

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    To get lightning, you either have to be extremely fast, lucky, or use a bulb setting and just wait for a strike. For clouds and other such things I would use either manual (if your camera has it) or Aperture mode and set your aperture high.

    Lightning and storms aren't the easiest to capture because of the low light conditions and the speed at which cool stuff usually happens (ie lightning).
     
  10. Chibamonkey

    Chibamonkey TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Tasmaster, I was going to mention this, but since some p&s digitals do not have metadata...and he didn't mention which camera he was using, I chose not to include it. But yes, Tasmaster is right, metadata is a valuable tool for keeping track of what is working, and what isn't if you have access to it.

    I myself keep forgetting about metadata when I shoot w/ my dSLR, and I find myself still recording all the info down in a notedbook. Old habits, I guess, from a long time ago.
     
  11. RTXPIX

    RTXPIX TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice! I just figured out how to view the metadata in my camera's sw package. I did not know that this was available until it was mentioned by Tasmaster. I appreciate the help from all who took the time to reply.

    RTX
     
  12. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    :D
     

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