Tech ??? on Lightning Shots with Nikon

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kundalini, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Just as a disclaimer, this is my first go with lightning storms. It wasn't as cracking a storm as I've seen in other peoples photos, but was excited anyway. I had read some threads on it before, but it all went out the window when I saw the storm coming in.

    I think I can answer a couple of the reasons I am not as happy as I wanted to be with these shots. First, I should've stopped down to f/8 minimum. Second, I had the exposure compensation set at +1.0EV on all shots.

    All shots taken with Nikon D300 with Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 lens. Gear mounted to Manfrotto 055XPROB legs and Manfrotto 322RC2 Ball Head. Triggered by corded Phottix N8 remote.

    Focal length set at 12mm.
    Focus distance just shy of infinity.
    Long Exposure Off
    Active D-Kighting Normal

    1. Aperture = f/5.6 Shutter Speed = 14.9 seconds ISO400
    The noise. Why? ISO400? 14.9 seconds?
    [​IMG]

    2. Aperture = f/8 Shutter Speed = 11.0 seconds ISO200
    Notice the Magenta and Green banding. This was prevalent in most of the images. Why?
    [​IMG]

    3. Aperture = f/4 Shutter Speed = 5.1 seconds ISO200
    Notice the blowout of the lightning bolt. I can summize that at f/4 it was just too much light. Is that correct?
    [​IMG]

    4. 100% crop of the above #3.
    [​IMG]

    The Nikkor 12-24mm lens hasn't let me down before. I'm really concerned with the noise and the color banding.

    If anyone has a possible reason for these misfortunes, I would really like to know.

    I only wish the next time to be better. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    Did you shoot these in RAW or JPEG... The only reason I ask is that looks similar to the harsh gradiants that you can sometimes get in low light with a JPEG if you are not careful. In my experience of lightning shooting, the farther away the lightning the larger the aperature to get the correct exposure. Also, because you have your camera on a tripod doing long exposures, I don't see any reason to shoot anything but your lowest ISO (IE a 30 second and a .25 second shutter speeds are going to need a tripod anyways so might as well go for low noise).

    Here's an excample of lightning off in the distance that I shot at f/4 and 100ISO: click for higher-res
    [​IMG]
    f/4 100ISO



    and here is some that I had to stop down to f/10 (my first one was a f/8 and just a little bit blown out) and it was right over my head:
    [​IMG]
    f/10 100ISO
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks Chris.

    I forgot to mention that I was shooting RAW or rather Nikon NEF. The D300's lowest ISO setting is 200, however, it can emulate ISO100, I think. I haven't tried set it to the L and H settings as of yet.

    My workflow has been to upload the image into Capture NX, do small amounts of tweaking with Control Points / Levels etc. Then it is saved to a TIFF and opened up in PS CS. Any additional tweaking is done there. (I don't do a great deal of tweaking) Then saved as JPEG sized for the web.

    Lightroom and CS3 should be purchased in the next couple of months. A few other items have priority.
     
  4. Dioboleque

    Dioboleque TPF Noob!

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    I have been considering trying to shoot lightning, if i can only get over that pesky fear of dying... so I have a question regarding your attempts. In your situation where the lightning seems to be isolated to one specific area of the sky, is it better to use the 10-24mm and crop later, or use the 70-200mm and focus more specifically on the area where the lightning is occurring? :sillysmi:
     
  5. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    I'm no physics professor, but is it possible its not the camera? A strong light is passing through a very moist sky, perhaps its almost a rainbow effect. I don't know, but I'm just trying to be nice and offer some perspective on what it may be.
     
  6. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I (try) to always shoot lightning at ISO 100. I find that when I accidentally leave the camera on 400, noise tends to build up rather quickly. This was one of those occasions two nights ago where I forgot to turn it back down to 100, and you can see the noise really good to the left of the lightning. This was f/8 @ 30 sec.

    [​IMG]

    Actually, after previewing the post, it looks MUCH worse after going through Photobucket....eww. The pic on my computer doesn't look nearly this bad, but you get the idea.


    I have tried to isolate one part of the sky with a 70-200, where the lightning seems to be the most active, and I gave up on that. It always seemed like wherever I aimed, the lightning decided not to be there anymore. I alway use a wide angle now. I will set up ahead of the storm, letting it roll into me, and keep the camera clicking. I actually had a few shots the other night that were far closer (and better) than this, but the wind driven rain got onto the front of the lens and ruin the shots with very visible water spots.
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I came to grips with Death a long time ago. It's gonna happen regardless. Might as well be doing something I enjoy. Of course if I had my druthers, I'd be coming and going at the same time. :lol:

    I used my WA lens. You just never know where it will be and I'd rather have the entire streak in the frame. Crop later.


    :confused:
     
  8. Dioboleque

    Dioboleque TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice! :sillysmi:
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ISO200 is the D300's base setting. There is a lower setting that emulates ISO100, but I read somewhere that it does add noise. Maybe I'll try it next time.

    Thanks. I did read your other thread about shooting lightning, but forgot the f/8 in the heat of the battle.
     
  10. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    That's alright. I forgot about my ISO in the heat of battle...happens to all of us at some point...:lol:

    I find that the f/8 to f/11 at night helps to cut down on the additional "flare" from closer bolts.
     

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