Lightning strikes with a trigger

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mud711, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. mud711

    mud711 TPF Noob!

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    Recently purchased a Miops to shoot time lapse and lightning strikes.......what settings would I use for lightning strikes.......I intend to use a low ISO, maybe f8 but am confused about SS.........TY


     
  2. Watchful

    Watchful No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It depends on the effect you are looking for. Fast settings to freeze it and slower to soften it. I found that bursts and even video will capture a lot of strikes that are otherwise missed. How will thunder occurring after a strike trigger the camera to capture the strike that already occurred? Miops is good for actions that are simultaneous with a sound isn't it?
    Are you using your smartphone and an app for the miops?
     
  3. mud711

    mud711 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for such a quick reply......on the way to work when I received it.........I guess that I will have to experiment to find the style that will appeal to me......all I need now is a nice spring thunder storm on my night off or after work..........
     
  4. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not an expert with lightening, but i will recount my experience and hope it's of some help.

    Lightning strikes are typically of very short duration, 0.00001 to 0.00005 of a second so shutter speed will have zero effect on the bolt itself. It only really controls background illumination (though I have seen sheet lightning comprising of many bolts, one after another).
    Your real control for exposure comes with aperture, the setting for which will depend largely on the distance between you and the strike. I would be wary of f8 as I have found the actual intensity to be far lower than that. The shot below was at night on full manual with a 15s shutter speed which was set as long as possible without recording detail. It fills most of the width of a ff sensor with a 55mm lens and was shot at f5.6 at ISO200. Even this was under-exposed and would have been better if shot at f4 or even f2.8. I would definitely choose an intense storm and check both the background exposure histogram (without lightening) and any strikes you capture so to give you a good idea on your exposure.
    To capture lightning you could just use as long a shutter speed as possible and point the camera in the best direction while continually pressing the shutter. But then Sod's law will dictate the best bolts will occur during the brief moments the shutter is closed. I should be interested to hear how well the gadget works. At night with a shutter speed below that needed to capture any background illumination your only light is the 0.00005/sec flash so I wouldn't even worry unduly about mirror slap.
    It's also worth a brief study on the nature of the storms, they often form in isolated groups and follow the terrain of the land with bolts from one cell setting off reactions in others. I found this useful to understand when tracking cells at night, that you are often looking at 3 or 4 storms at varying distance.

    _DSC8957_sRGB_sm.jpg

    There are many others on this forum with greater experience and I welcome corrections to any mistakes I may have made. Hope this helps. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The device he bought has several modes of operation, sound being one, and another is "lightning" mode, that detects flashes of light.

    (from the website)


    Lightning Mode
    Ideal for Lightning Strikes


    Even this mode is called lightning, there is actually so much more about it. Lightning is only one of the events that MIOPS Smart can detect with its light sensor. When the lightning strikes, MIOPS Smart detects in a few nanoseconds and triggers your camera. There is virtually no delay other than the lag time of the camera.
     
  6. Alexr25

    Alexr25 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think you are confusing strikes with stokes. It is true the a lightning stoke lasts 10-50 microseconds but each lightning strike is made up of many strokes and a typical strike lasts about 200 millseconds (that's 1/5 of a second). If you observe a lightning strike you see that it lasts fractions of a second rather than microseconds.
    If the trigger unit detects the first stroke it has plenty of time to open the camera shutter and record most of the strike, you do however need use a slow shutter speed to capture the whole strike, I'd use anything slower than 1/2 sec that still gives good exposure of the background scene.
     
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  7. mud711

    mud711 TPF Noob!

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    Now I'm beginning to get a better understanding of the mechanics........at night while manually focusing to infinity, I believe that a larger aperture can be used with a longer SS of maybe 1/4.........ahsooo Grasshopper...you are beginning to see the light....(pun)........
     
  8. Watchful

    Watchful No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have only taken shots of lighting during the late summer monsoons and the sky never stops flashing and strikes are constant and ongoing for the duration of the storm so video and burst both work great to capture the shots well.
    Good luck, and if you hear the thunder and see the lightning at the same time, you are too close. :)
    You can use a model rocket to create a strike where you want it.
     
  9. wfooshee

    wfooshee No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I shoot lightning, I use a long-ish shutter speed and just let the camera run on the intervalometer. My camera has that built in, others may need it as part of an external wired remote. What it does is let me program an interval between shutter trips and the number of trips. I'll set the camera up on a tripod, turn off auto-focus and use Live View to manually focus on something in the distance, I'll start with f:8 and ISO 100 and when I get some hits I check them out on the screen and adjust exposure up or down as needed. If the bolts I see are sharp but seem dim, then I open up the aperture or raise the ISO. If I'm getting a blasted from with washed-out white, then I'll cut back on the exposure. I've got shots ranging from wide-open at f:3.5 to clamped right down at f:22.

    As for shutter speed, I'll set anywhere from 13 to 25 seconds, and set the intervalometer for one second more than the shutter time, so the shutter remains open most of the time. turn off long-exposure noise filtering, which freezes the camera after long exposure while it takes a shutter-closed dark exposure of the same duration. This stuff about using a quarter of a second, or a tenth, is frankly just silly. at night, keep the shutter open as long as you can keep it, then open it again immediately. There's nothing out there to over-expose, and the lightning will only be affected by ISO and aperture.

    Regardless, you want the camera on a tripod, and you want to use long shutters, unless you're shooting in daylight. (Don't try to us an ND filter to get long shutters in daylight, because the ND filter cuts the lightning just as much as it cuts the daylight, which is not useful. That's come up before, someone asking why his daylight lightning was so disappointing..... :) ) Trying to do it handheld and hitting the button when you see a flash is not going to be very successful. if you don't have an intervalometer, just mash the button every time it's ready.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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