Live composite for lightning

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by kgeissler, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. kgeissler

    kgeissler Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Oct 25, 2012
    Rowlett, TX
    Has anyone used live composite for lightning? I tried today but the image never captured any lightning though I could clearly see it. I tried exposures of 5 sec and 15 sec with no luck. What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    I have done this a few times successfully at night. What time of day were you trying to capture lightning?
     
  3. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    Its possible to do. What were your settings??
     
  4. kgeissler

    kgeissler Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Oct 25, 2012
    Rowlett, TX
    It was dark, around 7pm at night.

    I had my aperture set one time at 1.8 with the shutter at 5 seconds. The second time I set it at 5.6, with the shutter at about 15 seconds.
     
  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I'd love to do this...
     
  6. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    Here are two examples of what I've managed to capture:

    Composite of multiple live composites at f2.8, 2.5 seconds, ISO 200
    19884302518_5d1fa83fb6_b.
    NympenburgLightning_Composite V3


    Composite of multiple live composites at f7.1, 5 seconds, ISO 200
    21029412661_5f25134394_b.
    Lightning Show


    As you can see, I've used settings similar to what you used, but one thing that I have to mention that it was night and fully dark. If it was twilight, it might have still been a bit too bright to capture lightning. I've had this issue myself and unfortunately I don't have a solution to capturing lightning during hours brighter than official night (past civil, nautical and astronomical twilight).

    Do you have examples of what you captured? Maybe that will provide a clue as well?
     
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  7. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    731
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    This is nothing special but it was my first attempt at lightning so I am reasonably pleased, if I get another chance at least I will be quicker in setting up the camera. Taken last night from the window of my house. As with maritan's shots this was well after full darkness, not twilight. Live composite with multiple 5 second exposures, f9, IS0200. There were long intervals between flashes and I also had problems with rain being blown onto the lens, so I didn't get to superimpose multiple flashes - only one of the multiple exposures "counted" for the sky area. I would have liked to experiment with changing the aperture but the storm passed over before I had the chance, I don't know what difference if any this would make.

    ES20151101_001_casa_lightning.
     
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  8. TonyVentourisPhotography

    TonyVentourisPhotography Mu-43 Regular

    139
    Nov 1, 2015
    Washington DC
    Tony
    Awesome shots! I love these! I have to try lightning one day! I have done this with fireflies and it took some trial and error but once you get the ambient base exposure set and the lighting is dark enough to register your "lights" then it should work perfectly. I would also not be afraid to let it run for longer than you think and amass extra images. Especially with something like lighting where some my be faint or not register as strong. I love experimenting with this mode!
     
  9. Sujiar

    Sujiar Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 5, 2014
    NorCal, USA
    Suji
    image. Here's my first attempt at lightning, during a violent and torrential storm that has hopefully broken our Californian drought. Still light, after work and by the time I had found a parking spot with a decent sky view and set the Omd om10 on the dash with the wipers still going, most of the big lightning had already passed. But got this one - live comp, f5.6 1/2 sec for 30 seconds or so until a bolt flashed.
     
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  10. Vandy

    Vandy Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Nov 8, 2015
    VA
    Marc
    Those were amazing
     
  11. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Veteran

    361
    Mar 9, 2013
    Dresden, Germany
    I apologize for hijacking an old thread, but I felt it was better to add here than to create something entirely new: so, I got my EM1 two weeks ago, mainly because of ergonomics and live composite. I wanted to take photos of lightning! Lo and behold, there was a lightning storm last night – the rain was pouring down, so I was taking photos out of my bedroom window.

    My first attempts were a real bust: I set exposure times for Live Composite to 3s, 5s, 8s – everything pretty much remained black. Then I switched to 13s and 15s and suddenly there were lightning bolts!

    First image: taken through the fly net on my window ... I know, but I just wanted to "try" it, I didn't expect I would get the most amazing lightning bolts! 13s at f6.3, manual focus to infinity on the Olympus 12-40 (which worked amazingly well). I think I let Live Composite run for about 5 minutes on this one and captured 4 individual sets of lightning.
    P8010021.

    Second shot: 13s at f6.3 I stopped Live Composite after about 2 minutes when I got that single bolt. I had seen on the previous image that another very large bolt had appeared where the vertical one is (on the left) but it didn't show up on the photo. I guess this was because that second large one wasn't brighter than the one already on the photo. (foreground: lightened shadows in LR)
    P8020022.

    And my last keeper from that night: 15s at f6.3. I think this was almost 7 minutes, but I only got those two bolts:
    P8020027.

    And afterwards I fell asleep because it was almost 1am and I usually get up at 6 :D
     
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  12. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The thread was nearly two years old, so I could hardly call it hijacking but waking it up & adding to it nicely. Thanks. :2thumbs:
     
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  13. pondball

    pondball Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    just wondering if using ND filters during the day or twilight would help capture lightning?
     
  14. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Veteran

    361
    Mar 9, 2013
    Dresden, Germany
    I haven't tried this yet. I think without the Live Composite feature, they'd be necessary because you have to keep exposing for a while to catch a bolt and ND filters can help to reduce the light that comes in, allowing for longer exposures until it becomes too bright to actually see the bolt.
     
  15. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I haven't really tried it properly yet, but I don't think ND filters would be desirable since it will also dim down the strength of the lightning which is meant to be bright enough to break through the threshold brightness level (or contrast level) for Live Composite to work.
     
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  16. pondball

    pondball Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Just came across this thread on Live Composite (as I clearly know nothing about it... yet! In that thread @wonglp@wonglp, who shows off a couple of very fine LC photos says he would use LC for Lightning, but I'm not sure if he uses ND filters as well

    @Ross the fiddler@Ross the fiddler ... good point about the dim lightning... that would certainly defeat the purpose of taking the shot wouldn't it! my bad! :doh:
     
  17. wonglp

    wonglp Mu-43 Veteran

    469
    Feb 28, 2011
    Singapore
    LC is simple to use, just need to leave it there long enough, though I shoot at night from comfort of home so far but do unexpose about -1EV, as once the lightning appears, it can be very bright.

    EM1, P714, ISO200, F5, 5sec Live composite, I think I did a duration of about 25min or so?
    15242829839_edbfbe7253_h.

    As for NDs I would use in the day when I can't achieve 1/2s max shutter speed. Here's an example of Haida ND1.8 with Olympus 7-14mm close to sunset, and I wanted to use it at F8 where diffraction isn't much of an issue still. 2.5sec shot LC for a few minutes. As can be seen, the light trails wasn't showing much as it's still bright against the road background (even when I used ND), so as mentioned by Ross as well, if the skies are still pretty bright, the lightning effect might not be achievable. Since LC works on the principle of "lightening" mode in PS, the skies and lightning contrast must be sufficient too.
    24934887796_8c15a4018f_h.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
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  18. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Live Composite all by itself is worth the price of buying an Olympus camera, in my opinion.
     
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  19. wonglp

    wonglp Mu-43 Veteran

    469
    Feb 28, 2011
    Singapore
    yeah, even the lowest end EPL7/8 has it...
     
  20. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    There is also a Thunder n Lightning thread. Not too many images there, but some great ones.

    I used live composite for the first time on vacation last year when we saw an unexpected lightning storm. I have posted these images earlier.
    Columbia River Lightning 2.

    Columbia River Lightning 1.
     
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