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Thread: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

  1. #1

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    Kris Harmon

    Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    I've been working on taking lightning photos when we have storms here in the west Texas area. At night I have been shooting ISO 200 with the F stop set at F5.6. During late evening and day time photos I pretty much set the F stop to the best possible setting that will give me the longest exposure time.

    I need some help from someone with vastly more experience than I have using a DSLR. What settings do you suggest for night time lightning photography?

    Thanks for the help and suggestions in advance.

    KHarmon

  2. #2
    stevewe88's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    I have no experience of this but my best guess would be a small aperture of at least f16 to give you as much chance of having the lightening sharp. I would then set the shutter speed to bulb so that I could keep it open until lightening occurs, then close it straight after.

    If there is a lot of ambient light you may have to keep closing and re-opening the shutter if no lightening occurs.

    If there is little or no ambient light you could keep the shutter open for a longer time.

    I have always fancied a go at this but we don't get too many storms like that here

    Others may be able to help with a more technical solution for you, but I hope this helps a bit

  3. #3
    darekk's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    These two pictures:

    Amateur Hour question.  Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    Amateur Hour question.  Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    were shot few days ago at

    ASA 100
    f# 7.1 (5.6 + 2/3 AV)
    15 s

    ASA and f# depend on lighting, time on city lights.

    The color was shifted towards pink. White balance was corrected using part of a cloud supposed to be white as white point (clickable eyedropper tool in Canon Digital Photo Professional). If you used white walls of buildings as white point, the sky would get innaturally blue. I don't have big experience in color manipulation, but it seems to be very difficult in this case. The sky is lighet by lightning an a little by artificial lights from the earth - more on the right then on the left. And buildings mainly by city lights. Then it is impossible to find one white point for everything.
    The contrast was also slighty imroved, but very little.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    darekk's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    AEO Photo Lightning Strike
    Responds to Lightning in 0.1 ms
    The device triggers on the first bolt it detects. The camera shutter mechanism is not fast enough to catch that first bolt, but fortunately, most bolts are followed by many more.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Sh...phd/4174467111
    http://www.aeophoto.com/index.html
    Last edited by darekk; 6th October 2011 at 03:54 PM.

  5. #5
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by darekk View Post
    AEO Photo Lightning Strike
    Hi Darekk, that device is great but a tad pricy for my budget. Are you aware of any more reasonably priced triggers that you could recommend? Thanks!

  6. #6
    darekk's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    For my budget too. But this is interesting device.
    Maybe liquid crystal aperture:
    http://www.google.com/patents/about/...d=3c7KAAAAEBAJ
    would be fast enough to catch first bolt, but probably such cameras don't exist.

  7. #7
    chrisa62401's Avatar
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    Chris Andrews

    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    I'm thinking about buying this kit. The price is a bit more reasonable.

    http://www.electronics-hobby.com/pro...-finder-kit-2/

  8. #8
    darekk's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    "Depending on the storm, lightning flashes can last for several hundred milliseconds (ms) and contain dozens of strokes each occurring approximately 40 milliseconds apart."
    Then actually such devices can catch first bolt ??
    Last edited by darekk; 6th October 2011 at 05:00 PM.

  9. #9
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur Hour question. Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    Hi Kris,

    Steve has it right when he mentions using Bulb. I think you'd have to be really serious to bother with any of the other kit mentioned.

    This was 11 secs @ f22, iso 200.

    Amateur Hour question.  Suggest F stops and speeds for Lightning

    Another thing to think about is safety. Don't wear a copper suit for instance, shouting all gods are b*st*rds. (Thank you Terry Pratchet! )

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