Managed to snap two lightning pics...

blackedge

Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
536
Managed to snap these two pics the other night of a lightning storm we had going on. Sadly, they were the only ones that actually got any bolts:

dscf2485.jpg


And

dscf2535.jpg


Just wanted to share them, as well ask for advice on trying to take pictures of lightning.

In this case, it hadn't started raining yet, so I was standing on the covered "porch" we have out front, and just using a pillar to support myself and the camera. I was using F/2.8 and 1 second exposures (generally speaking) to try and get the pictures. Sadly, that explains the screwed up depth of field too. So, I'm hoping we'll get another decent storm soon, and I can try with a larger F-stop (smaller aperture).

I must admit though, I'm just happy to get the two pictures that I did. I almost filled my 256 MB card on my Fuji Finepix S5000 trying to get those. But, I have a few things I'm going to change for the next time, as well as using a tripod.

Just looking to see if anyone has any other suggestions though?

Thanks!
 

shocksyde

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 24, 2001
Messages
2,355
man that first bolt is awesome...

congrats on even getting some on film (film? disk? eh who cares).

my new canon a80 is on it's way in the mail and i'd love to get some kickass pics of lightning, i'm a huge weather fan.

i yearn to be a stormchaser, heh.
 

mdude85

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 8, 2001
Messages
435
nice shots. I'd suggest increasing your f-value and also increasing your shutter speed a ton if you can. That way with a decreased aperture your shot won't get flooded with light even if you increase the time the shutter stays open. Given that, I'd suggest not shooting near any big sources of light like street lamps, because they'll get overexposed in your shot and may drown out the parts of your image of lightning.

I think the best advice I can offer is let your shutter speed open for a much longer time if you can. 1 second is not enough...you were very lucky to get these.
 

shocksyde

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 24, 2001
Messages
2,355
they say lightning never strikes twice, but it looks like those 2 bolts are pretty close :)

(unless they are they same bolt, but i dont think they are)
 

o0moonman0o

Weaksauce
Joined
Jul 4, 2003
Messages
93
no wonder u used up ur cards for taking these 2 pics hehe u were incredibly lucky to capture them with 1 sec exposure. next time try at least F8 with 4-8 sec exposure hehe.

;) nice captures! :)
 

blackedge

Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
536
Thanks for the comments and advice guys!

Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to get those two, especially that first one. I think the only reason I was lucky enough to get those was because the lightning was rather frequent.

I'm definitely closing the aperture next time, but I've run into an exposure limitation. Unfortunately, my digital only allows for 2 second exposures (unless there's a hack out there that I haven't found yet). For the most part, it isn't really all that big of a deal, except when you want to do night photography. Ah well. That's why my next digital will be a DSLR, and I can leave the bloody shutter open if I feel like it. :D
 

Tim_axe

Gawd
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Messages
943
When you're shooting pics of lightning, try to predict when the next bolt will strike. I have a friend who relies on reflexes to take his lightning pictures, and amazingly he snapped a great shot...on top of a fence...ontop of a mountain...in the middle of a lightning storm... I don't know if he was luckier to get the picture, or not get hit by lightning. :D

But if you have longer exposures, which it sounds like you don't, you could count the time and find the delay between lightning and hold the shutter open the entire time. But it sounds like you'll have to do some awesome predicting to fit your 2 second shutter speed. I've miss-predicted lightning (in clouds, several miles away) on 60 second exposures, but if the lightning would flash at least once a minute it would have been so much easier for me to get some lightning in my pics...
 

iamjuliespiano

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 9, 2003
Messages
190
Tim_axe:

How exactly do you predict lightning strikes? Does lightning actually strike at similar intervals...?
 

Tim_axe

Gawd
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Messages
943
I'm pretty sure there are semi-regular intervals to lightning strikes, at least from what I've seen so far. Next time there is a storm, count in your head how many seconds between the flashes, and maybe consider the cloud the flash came from. I don't know how to predict where it will strike (that's kinda luck driven), but I'm sure predicting when is possible. But I'm usually off by 5 - 10 seconds, so with a 2 second exposure, it might not be the easiest thing to do...
 

Da PlaN-R

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 9, 2001
Messages
1,627
Well if you have a camera that can do bulb just hold the shutter until you get something.

My Powershot G5 can do 15 second exposures but then it needs about 20 seconds to unload all the data so I often lose stuff while waiting :( I need to see if if I can do shorter stuff too
 

Tim_axe

Gawd
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Messages
943
Da PlaN-R - It sounds a bit like some sort of Noise Reduction feature is turned on.

Noise Reduction takes another picture, but with the shutter closed. The purpose is to detect "stuck" pixels in a picture that is supposed to be completely black, and then subtract it from the previous picture. I don't know much about the G5 doing that, but it sounds a lot like what my Nikon CoolPix 995 does, but I just take a black scene every once in a while to make my own thing to subtract from loger exposures to remove the stuck pixels in post-processing for pictures I deem worthy of it. I hate to miss out on stuff because of this feature...
 
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