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Thread: Lightning

  1. #1

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    Lightning

    Very lucky to have caught a lightning storm a bit after sunset while there was still some residual golden light around.

    But really kicking myself for missing 2 other really super super flashes. Even #! was a super super flash but I was so concerned with getting a reasonable foreground that the camera was not pointed high enough. Should have just taken in the full sky and then taken a shot of the foreground and merged them into a vertical pano.

    The storm then dissipated but lo, returned a couple of hours later but quite far away (#2 and #3).

    Next time will be better prepared as the weather office is prediciting thunder storms for Thursday and Friday, hope I am in a suitable place when those come around.

    C&C always appreciated.

    Thanks for viewing.

    1.
    Lightning

    2.
    Lightning

    3.
    Lightning

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Lightning

    Very cool Bobo! Nicely caught. I wish we had more lightning here.
    Last edited by jeeperman; 17th April 2012 at 06:55 AM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Lightning

    The problem with lightning shots is that they're always shot from the same (distant) perspective. Wouldn't it be cool to lie on one's back - in the middle of a field - and get a shot of the lightning coming towards the camera!

  4. #4

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The problem with lightning shots is that they're always shot from the same (distant) perspective. Wouldn't it be cool to lie on one's back - in the middle of a field - and get a shot of the lightning coming towards the camera!
    Yep - that would be "once in a lifetime photo"

    Imagine how much it will fetch at auction.

    Nice catch Bobo, I still have to get one.

  5. #5
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    Re: Lightning

    I wouldn't lie on my back to take the photo; I'd crouch as low as possible while keeping my ankles touching each other, then arch my neck back and point the camera to the heavens. So if a lightning bolt struck nearby, the electricity would only toast my feet.

    So I read somewhere anyway...

    Tony

  6. #6

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony M View Post
    I wouldn't lie on my back to take the photo; I'd crouch as low as possible while keeping my ankles touching each other, then arch my neck back and point the camera to the heavens. So if a lightning bolt struck nearby, the electricity would only toast my feet.

    So I read somewhere anyway...

    Tony
    I think we need a volunteer

  7. #7
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    Re: Lightning

    Aerial shot from a cargo plane, payload bay door wide open.

  8. #8
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    Re: Lightning

    Those are some fine captures. Lightning is very elusive and I've never been able to get a satisfying image.

    Colin, I had that perspective once when lightning hit the nose of the Challenger jet I was flying. It's sudden, dramatic and exciting; not a major stroke but enough energy to damage several composite panels on the tail. No pictures although in my memory, I can still see that lightning stroke coming right at us. Very impressive experience.

    Paul S

  9. #9

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    Re: Lightning

    Haha good ones.

    I am with Colin on getting a different perspective. At least there will be no need to go for a nice foreground.

    The weather office is predicting Thursday and Friday for more. Hopefully conditions will be good enough for a different perspective.

    There were 450 flashes last night. Missed 2, got 3 for 9 hours of effort.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The problem with lightning shots is that they're always shot from the same (distant) perspective. Wouldn't it be cool to lie on one's back - in the middle of a field - and get a shot of the lightning coming towards the camera!
    Just build your own Faraday cage for the camera together with a wireless remote trigger :-)

    @Bobo:
    I find the first one with the skyline the most exciting. It is sad that you did not get the super flash during that session. What exposure values did you use?

    Robert

  11. #11

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    Re: Lightning

    Thanks Robert.

    As we know there is no way of predicting a flash so I cheated.

    Tripod, IS off, 2sec timer, mirror lockup, wired remote trigger, ISO 100, f16, manual focus for foreground, 30sec exposure.

    One reason for the 2 missed super super flashes was that I was at first taking single shot exposures. Wised up After those misses and set camera to do 2 continuous shots and still missed getting a few smaller flashes. After those disappointments set the camera for 10 consecutive 30sec exposures (camera max). May or may not have caught the last 2 otherwise.

    The other reason for the missed shots was that I was not sure what aperture to use to keep the bright foreground from blowing with a 30secs exposure. Finally settled on f16 but stuck a 2 stop GND in reverse in front of the lens to protect the foreground and avoid using smaller then f16.

    So basically all you need is lots of time. Start to finish I was at it for 9 hours and as luck would have it the best actually was one of the earliest "don't know what I am doing" shots.

    A note to those who wish to shoot lightning - if you see one flash there will be more. Setup as I did and be patient. Also no need to try daytime, won't work without a lightning sensor/trigger - too bright. Also forget it if there is very thick and low cloud cover or very intense rain. The clouds and/or rain will diffuse the flashes into very large blobs of light that will only brighten up the sky and nothing more.

    Hope this is helpful. If anyone has more tips, please post.

  12. #12
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    Re: Lightning

    Bobo...am just popping in before bed............had to stop and say !

  13. #13

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by PRSearls View Post
    Those are some fine captures. Lightning is very elusive and I've never been able to get a satisfying image.

    Colin, I had that perspective once when lightning hit the nose of the Challenger jet I was flying. It's sudden, dramatic and exciting; not a major stroke but enough energy to damage several composite panels on the tail. No pictures although in my memory, I can still see that lightning stroke coming right at us. Very impressive experience.

    Paul S
    Hi Paul,

    Didn't know you were a retired pilot. I'm kinda one too, but unfortunately, my "career" consisted only of a few hundred hours in small piston planes at Aero Club level, although I did "amass" about 100 on twins. I'd have given my right arm to fly a turbofan. OK, I'm envious. I heard from a fellow pilot how he witnessed the take off of a private jet with Tom Cruise onboard from one of our regional airports ... apparantly after rotate it proceeded to climb out at some ridiculously high rate. Someone mentioned over the radio that it must be nice to have that much power ... to which the pilot with an American accent replies "yeah ... and that was a reduced power takeoff"!

    Never had any lightning strikes, although a colleague did; it hit the tip of a rotating prop and stuffed an engine. He said there was an incredibly bright light flash - an incredibly loud bang - and shortly afterwards an "organic smell" in the cockpit! Rather him than me I say!

  14. #14

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Tripod, IS off, 2sec timer, mirror lockup, wired remote trigger, ISO 100, f16, manual focus for foreground, 30sec exposure.
    Hi Bobo,

    Just a "side note" - there's no need for the 2 sec timer or MLU with exposures that long. With focusing, a little "trick" is to use AF to get the lens elements in the right place (if it's light enough) and then switch to MF; when I do that I often then reverse the lens hood so that I don't bump the focus ring.

  15. #15
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    Re: Lightning

    Hi Bobo,

    I used a similar technique for shooting lightnings. In my area clouds hang often very low so that lightnings mostly produce only a flash alike light like you discribed. Nevertheless I did manage to shoot some lightnings about two years ago. It was during a thunder storm in early summer. The storm front aproached just right before sunset. The best pictures I got had similar exposure values like yours. f/11 with 30sec at iso 100 using a wide angle lens was the best aproach. It was already so dark that I did not had to use any type of filter on the lens. In my opinion it is better to use a wider lens for lightnings and do a crop on the image later, because lens resolution, MFT ,etc. do not have a major impact on lightning photography. I focused on the hyperfocal distance. With f/11 and a focal length between 30 to 45mm (compared to a FF) there should be no visible out of focus objects. I did not have a remote trigger that time, so I set the camera to 30sec exposure. To avoid moving ghost clouds in the picture I held my hand in front of the lense just after a bright lightning. It did work very well.

    Robert

  16. #16

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    Re: Lightning

    Sharon

    Thanjks Colin, that is what I did for the first session, flustered and all and not thinking straight. For 2 and 3 went the full course of camera on tripod routine.

    Thanks Robert - please post that pic.
    Hey that is a handy tip about hand in front. Will use it next time.

    One thing I forgot to mention earlier - battery drain. Long exposures drain the battery much much faster then normal so have a spare handy just in case.
    Last edited by Bobobird; 18th April 2012 at 03:58 AM.

  17. #17

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Thanks Colin, that is what I did for the first session, flustered and all and not thinking straight. For 2 and 3 went the full course of camera on tripod routine.
    That's OK. Tripods are pretty essential for this kind of thing - it's just the 2 sec delay and MLU that don't do anything; any vibrations from the shutter release are well and truely damped out after a few seconds.

  18. #18

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    Re: Lightning

    Thanks Colin.

    Any time saved between shots can only be beneficial for this sort of stuff when you don't want to miss something.

  19. #19

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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Thanks Colin.

    Any time saved between shots can only be beneficial for this sort of stuff when you don't want to miss something.
    If you have a remote with a lock on it, then in theory you should be able to set the camera to manual - dial in your parameters - set the drive mode to continuous - and then just leave the release locked down on the remote.

    Works for the Canon TC80-N3 that way.

  20. #20
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    Re: Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    If you have a remote with a lock on it, then in theory you should be able to set the camera to manual - dial in your parameters - set the drive mode to continuous - and then just leave the release locked down on the remote.

    Works for the Canon TC80-N3 that way.
    Yes but tends to flatten the battery faster.

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