The Term "Bulb"???????

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by STICKMAN, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. STICKMAN

    STICKMAN TPF Noob!

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    Ok so in reading around the forum on shooting lightning I keep seeing the term "bulb" under settings. I did a search and did find the term used but not explained. Can anyone help explain this to me in plain english, I a brand new and need it spelled out in terms i can understand. I shoot with a d40, any help would be great thanks in advance.
     
  2. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Mode in which you control the exposure time, generally by hitting the shutter (or your remote) then hitting it again when you're done, or holding down the button.

    It's in the manual.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Should be covered in your manual as to how you set it (for a canon its shutter priority mode and then turn the shutter all the way to the longest time and then one more turn to bulb mode)
    It works like reg says - though you do have to be carful that you don't leave the shutter open too long and damage the sensor (not for bright conditions)
     
  4. STICKMAN

    STICKMAN TPF Noob!

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    WOW that was super fast!!!!! Thanks for the replies thats why I enjoy this place so much.......... With the responses said would it be safe to use this setting for lightning or would a noob really be possibly setting themselves up to damage there equipment??????
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    lightning? that would be needing fast shutter speeds I would guess - Bulb is really for slower speeds - like stars at night - where you need longer exposures than the camera will normally do.
    Lightning is the opposite end of the spectrum - its moving very fast.
    I would think a really fast shutter speed (not sure what as I have never shot lightning before) and then using continuous shooting mode and pressing that shutter button and hoping for luck!
     
  6. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    You generally shoot lightning like you do fireworks. Bulb + black something to cover the lens between strikes
     
  7. husky_mom

    husky_mom TPF Noob!

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    it´s better if you have continuos lightnings... and you use bulb for a few seconds at a time....and usually at dark hours... so you just point and shoot at a certain spot in the sky and shoot... if you´re lucky you´ll get a lightning in frame...

    if you try doing it fast... you´ll never be fast enough no matter how fast the shutter speed is.... that´s why you´ll need bulb as you can control the seconds.......

    if you missed it you can try again... adn you don´t have to wait a given time chosen by camera, here YOU choose the lenght of exposure
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually while lightning happens for a split seconds it is also a light source, much like flash. To capture lightning I do the following:

    - Set up my camera pointing at the storm.
    - Set low ISO (100 or 200)
    - Pick an aperture which would give a slightly under exposed image if you take a 10 second exposure. (f/8 or f/11 do nicely at night)
    - Grab a chair set the camera to bulb, grab the remote and start shooting.

    While shooting hold down the button for 10 seconds at a time. If you get no lightning let go and press it again to start a new exposure. This prevents the foreground getting too light.
    If lightning actually strikes instantly let go of the shutter, or try your luck with a second strike, again don't exceed 10 seconds.

    The lightning is it's own light source so It will appear in the frame as the brightest object compared to the background, and will often illuminate the clouds too. It is exactly this kind of thing that blub mode is good for. When you need either variable control of when you want to close your shutter, or if you want to hold your shutter open for longer than the 30 seconds the camera allows (best done with a locking remote).

    Some shots using the above tricks:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2120/1531390824_f71bdcb04c_o.jpg
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2394/1531390852_013b35f8f7_o.jpg
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Maybe I missed something, but if your not exceeding 10 seconds, why set to Bulb? Why not set shutter speed to 10 seconds? Most cameras will go to 30 seconds exposure anyway. :confused:

    I have only been fortunate to catch a couple of strikes, but I set shutter to Bulb and covered the lens with black (lens cover) while the lightning was absent. I usually reset and started over after 5 minutes though so that the sensor doesn't overheat.

    One other thing I think you may have forgotten: "Grab a chair, grab the remote"...and grab a beer and enjoy :lol:
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Because if you set it to 10 seconds you risk seriously overexposing the shot if another flash hits out of frame... the key to what he was saying is to instantly let up on the shutter to avoid overexposure. If it is set to 10 seconds then you can't stop the shot until 10 seconds is up without doing something like throwing a black cloth over the lens.
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Woopse I meant to URL those not display as images. Yeah Sabbath got it.

    You want to photograph until lightning strikes. Bulbing lets you dynamically play with the shutter speed. More often than not the lightning strike will light up the foreground too. If a second lightning strike happens say behind you or just out of frame it could dramatically increase the foreground brightness. If that happens, finger off, finger on and you're back to square one.

    The same process applies to fireworks. By using bulb you can decide on the fly "wait I think these firework trails should be shorter" and then just take your finger off. Well unless we take your approach a bit too far and end up a little ... loud and happy and lacking in reflexes :lol:
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info on shooting lighting - a different method to what I would have tried but it makes sense - that will save me hours of wasted shots if I ever get a storm to shoot !
     

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