Lightning

wyogirl

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I searched the forum and got some great info but not exactly an answer to my question, which is....

I was shooting lightning tonight, (we hardly ever get thunder storms) and because my exposure was longish, the rest of the scene is blurry from motion (wind, not camera shake).

Is there another exposure method for shooting lightning that isn't long-ish exposure?
 

480sparky

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You should set the exposure so if there are no lighting strikes while the shutter is open, the scene is very underexposed.... almost black. If a bolt of lightning should strike while the shutter is open, it should provide ample light to light the scene.
 
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wyogirl

wyogirl

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ok, I was 2 stops under, maybe I should have gone further?
 

480sparky

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ok, I was 2 stops under, maybe I should have gone further?

Depends. There's no one-size-fits-all setting for lightning. If you're getting enough light to 'properly' expose the scene without any lightning, I'd say you still need to stop things down.
 
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wyogirl

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thanks for the tip... now to practice the timing because there is no way I am spending $300+ on a lightning timer.
 

480sparky

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thanks for the tip... now to practice the timing because there is no way I am spending $300+ on a lightning timer.

Without a trigger, it's just shoot & hope.... a lot of deleted images at the end of the day (er.... night!).
 

kundalini

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Obviously you want a tripod and a remote shutter release, thanks a given. If it is a storm where the time between lightning stikes are random at best, use short "bulb" exposures, 10 to 30 seconds. This helps keep the sensor from overheating. Exposure settings.... eh, but find the sweet spot for your lens, usually somewherer in the f/8 to f/11 range. If the storm is off in the distance (miles away), set your focal point to infinity and then back off slightly. As the storm is passing with random lightning strikes, just keep clicking off frames. I would suggest to have an adult beverage in hand, but that's just me. Sometimes you get lucky......

_D306875.jpg



Just be safe cause these storms can move fast and before you know it, you might chit yourself.

Taken a few minutes later in the wee hours of the morning.....

_D306931.jpg
 

hirejn

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Lightning triggers aren't perfect. They trigger a lot of shots that you don't want. And also how often do you see yourself hauling your gear out for storms? If this is something you plan to do all season, every season, for most storms, then maybe a trigger is a good investment. If not, use the manual method. This is where a cable release helps tremendously. You can lock the shutter open as long as you want and simply hold a black card in front of the lens when there's no lightning. The problem with the manual method is you have to be fast enough to remove the card. It also requires you to be next to the camera exposed to the storm. The other way is to simply hold the bulb open until you see a bolt and then close it. This creates the problem you have with things moving in the scene when the sensor is not blocked.
 

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