Author Topic: How do you capture lightning  (Read 7598 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Antonio (stormboy)

  • Stove pipe F3
  • *
  • Posts: 481
  • Gender: Male
How do you capture lightning
« on: 03 March 2009, 09:16:32 AM »
i film a video and pause it at the frame that the bolt happened and take a still shot. i use the cannon power shot A460

what is your technique?

cloudfairy

  • Guest
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #1 on: 03 March 2009, 09:44:01 AM »
I use my photo-camera and try to be lucky. Depending on the frequency of lighting.....if it is high enough I use 1 sec and 8.2 f and the serial function. Or I use 10-20 sec.

Offline Antonio (stormboy)

  • Stove pipe F3
  • *
  • Posts: 481
  • Gender: Male
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #2 on: 03 March 2009, 01:58:33 PM »
Well it looks like your technique works I have viewed your pictures of lightning in Darwin storm events…..AMAZING.

Offline Richary

  • Barrel tornado F4
  • *
  • Posts: 680
  • Gender: Male
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #3 on: 03 March 2009, 02:42:02 PM »
The advantage of digital is of course you can take as many shots as you want for free.

Last year I didn't have an SLR, just a pocket digital which did shoot video but only at 640 x 480 resolution. I did capture and post a few bolts caught from afternoon storms. We didn't really get any night time ones last summer (or this summer).

I now have a good Canon 1000D with full control. I can shoot out into the backyard with the ambient light at night for about 20 seconds at 100 ASA with the lens wide open. Unfortunately there has been little to try it out on. The last crawler I caught used that setting, the first one I ever managed was really quick and I had to set to 800 ASA for a proper exposure.

What you need to determine for your location is how long you can expose for before the streetlights and reflected lights off the cloud start to wash out the background. That will vary from place to place. Sydney obviously being a lot worse than Ballina. If I was still living on the farm at Coraki I could probably do a 5 minute exposure.

Then for most lightning - certainly good ground strikes I believe 100 or 200 ASA is ideal. Once you catch the first one you can preview and see if you need more or less light. It will depend on how far the lightning is from you as well as how bright. Obviously a multi strike in one spot lets a lot more light into the camera.

Check out some of the photos posted here, they have the EXIF information included so you can see what other people used.

Offline Antonio (stormboy)

  • Stove pipe F3
  • *
  • Posts: 481
  • Gender: Male
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #4 on: 03 March 2009, 02:54:46 PM »
Very informative richary I hope to get myself a pro camera like that one day but for now I am happy to catch the shots I do :)

Offline Richary

  • Barrel tornado F4
  • *
  • Posts: 680
  • Gender: Male
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #5 on: 04 March 2009, 03:41:24 PM »
Yeah mate. The big advantage of an SLR is full control. A lot of the mini cameras don't have any sort of manual focus so they refuse to take a photo if they can't focus in the dark (and take a long time trying to do so). If on auto focus the Canon refuses to take a shot if it can't focus. So even in the case of a multiple strike it won't try and focus quick enough to catch it. That is where any camera - even if not an SLR - that has manual focus will win out in trying to catch lightning shots.

Just interesting that infinity is not quite all the way on the Canon lens - I can focus past infinity. Hmmm, shots from a parallel universe?

Offline Michael Bath

  • storm chaser
  • Administrator
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,602
  • Gender: Male
    • Australian Severe Weather
Re: How do you capture lightning
« Reply #6 on: 05 March 2009, 04:14:30 AM »
I have a tutorial on my website here:

http://www.lightningphotography.com.au/tips.html

I certainly agree that digital has made things a lot easier - as you can experiment with settings as you go.

Michael
Location: Mcleans Ridges, NSW Northern Rivers
Australian Severe Weather:   http://australiasevereweather.com/
Lightning Photography:   http://www.lightningphotography.com/
Early Warning Network: http://www.ewn.com.au
Contact: Michael Bath