First attempt at lightning

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by Djarum, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    There was a significant amount of cloud to cloud lightning south of my home on Saturday night. I probably took 200 photos. This is my first attempt. These were the keepers. E-PL5 + 40-150 + tripod. I added contrast to make the streaks pop a little more.







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  2. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Not bad for a 1st attempt.
    I was looking at these and thinking to myself there are two that stood out as being better than the rest and then I looked at the exif data and realized why ..
    they were the ones with the longest shutter time ... which at 3.2 seconds I think is kinda short for lightning shots. Those should have been exposed at least a couple seconds more, IMHO.

    You absolutely do not want aperture priority for a setting when taking lightning. You need shutter control. Actually you really don't want auto settings if you can help it. Use Manual. The lightning will create a bright spots which will cause the underexposing of the rest of the image when auto settings are used..

    Exposing the Image for at least a second or two after the strike is Fine, you might even catch an extra strike on the same image.

    How were you shooting; did you set up a tripod and Fire the shutter the second you seen a flash?
    I have not shot Lightning in Digital yet, but when I did shoot them with film, I would expose during a storm for 20 to 30 seconds, hoping to catch a strike & more often than catching a single strike I would get no strikes or multiple.
    I don't have any scanned that I can show, but it was a method taught to me long ago by professionals, Tho they did recommend longer times to catch Multiple strikes.
    I remember seeing one of my professors examples that was shot with a 4x5 camera at f/64, ASA 100, for several minutes (10 I think but I can't remember for sure) and the whole skyline was lit up with many strikes. I remember it was the skyline of some town in Arizona and I could count atleast 10 strikes in the image.

    I think this type of photography is where Film is still king ,

    But anyway, you got me wanting to try my hand at this now too :smile:
    Too bad I missed the thunder storm we had two days ago here in NY.
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I tried longer exposures by the shots were washed out, even setting the aperature to f8.

    Part of the problem was the amount of skyglow from the city and full moon through the clouds. I was also shooting across a neighbors back yard with flood lights on. I was in manual mode. Anything longer that 4s was washing the sky out. The test shots I took at anything greater than 4s were just aweful.
  4. tetakpatak

    tetakpatak Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 12, 2012
    @Djarum Probably it would have been a lot easier to shoot AVCHD and extract the best frame. If you shoot in 1080p, you will have 2MP photo
  5. Pentaxis

    Pentaxis Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2014
    Bulb exposure mode can be helpful for shots like this. That way you can stop the exposure as soon as the lightning has been captured.
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