Jump to content



Welcome to KnowledgeSutra - Dear Guest , Please Register here to get Your own website. - Ask a Question / Express Opinion / Reply w/o Sign-Up!
Photo
- - - - -

How To Photograph Lightning?


12 replies to this topic

#1 shadowx

shadowx

    Live your life so that in death you may stand side by side with your gods. Not at their feet.

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,674 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Essex, UK
  • Interests:Photography is a big interest, i have some photos up at my site, apex photographs (http://apex-photographs.com). Using my Lumix g1 to take the photos of course! <br /><br />Um computer games... photo editing and thats about it!
  • myCENT:68.57
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:54 PM

The title says it all really!

Got my Lumix G1 (damn i love saying that!) and yesterday we had a lovely storm in the afternoon, all dark and moody, extreme rainfall and some fairly cool lightning, not the best but good enough! I tried to get some shots just by holding the shutter button to focus it (on the G1 half depressing focusses) and then quickly depressing it fully when i saw a flash. Needless to say it wasnt very accurate. I did however get one shot out of about 30, but unluckily i was shooting from a window and unknown to me the camera had focussed on the brick just visible in the edge of the photo and hence the lightning was just a blurry white zig zag :(

So i was wondering how the pros get their shots? Good timing? light sensors? Or some sort of long capture/video from which they just take out the lightning frames?

I did think of a long shutter speed but it would have just over exposed so that was out the window!
  • 0

#2 onscreen

onscreen

    Super Member

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Earth, somewhere in the middle
  • myCENT:70.0

Posted 08 July 2009 - 02:11 PM

Lightning moves. So you need a fast lens, F/2.8 for the quick capture. Usually a lightning will stay about 1 second before it goes "poof". Timing do count and its pretty vital too.

Just like photographing fireworks, fast lens captures light faster than normal lens so that is where the advantage if you want crisp solid pretty shots :(
  • 0

#3 shadowx

shadowx

    Live your life so that in death you may stand side by side with your gods. Not at their feet.

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,674 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Essex, UK
  • Interests:Photography is a big interest, i have some photos up at my site, apex photographs (http://apex-photographs.com). Using my Lumix g1 to take the photos of course! <br /><br />Um computer games... photo editing and thats about it!
  • myCENT:68.57
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 July 2009 - 02:49 PM

Well the aperture is f3.5-5.6 and the maximum lens speed is 1/4000 (seconds). Im a newbie to photography really but the lens speed seems pretty good!

I think it was just my reactions so i wondered if the pros had any special device or technique to it? If its a device then ill forget about it, we dont get many storms here in the UK except on the most humid of summer days (like last week, amazing storm!!!) so its not worth me buying more stuff!!
  • 0

#4 rvalkass

rvalkass

    apt-get moo

  • [MODERATOR]
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Devon, England
  • Interests:At the moment, Physics mainly!
  • myCENT:-38.03
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 July 2009 - 04:23 PM

I should point out I have never tried this. This is just what I have been told by friends:

The general method is to take the photos at night with a film (not digital) SLR camera. You also need to have a remote trigger for the shutter, and a mode on the camera that keeps the shutter open as long as you hold the button down. Set the camera up on a sturdy tripod so that there is absolutely minimal ambient light in the shot. Hold the trigger button down to open the shutter and hope some lightning appears. When it does, release the trigger to close the shutter. You'll need to experiment to see how long you can keep the shutter open in any location before the image is washed out and overexposed. It can be done with a digital camera as long as it has the required settings and remote trigger. You'll also need to turn off any settings that automatically try to cope with exposure problems, or your pictures probably won't come out that well.
  • 0

#5 shadowx

shadowx

    Live your life so that in death you may stand side by side with your gods. Not at their feet.

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,674 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Essex, UK
  • Interests:Photography is a big interest, i have some photos up at my site, apex photographs (http://apex-photographs.com). Using my Lumix g1 to take the photos of course! <br /><br />Um computer games... photo editing and thats about it!
  • myCENT:68.57
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 July 2009 - 04:42 PM

Thanks, ill give that a try at night. I know with a 60 second exposure at night it comes out pretty well. I can hold the shutter down for 4 minutes continual exposure too, the only problem is it will take 4 minutes of exposure and then 4 minutes to process it so if i dont get a strike i have a 4 minute downtime!
  • 0

#6 anwiii

anwiii

    I wont bite...unless you WANT me too

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,704 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chilhowee, MO
  • Interests:watching grass grow....
  • myCENT:62.06
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:19 PM

lightening is one of my favorite shots because only a true photographer will have the patience. don't ut your camera on automatic. set everything on manual. be creative with the shutter speed and aperatures. there is a lot of possibilities.

digital takes the fun out of part of the creative process since you can take limitless pictures....an can do this by just pressing the button down to take 1 or 2 night pictures per second.(faster if there were more light obviously).

last time i took lightening pictures, i din't have a tripod. there was a storm in the distance and used the car to stabalize the camera. what a *BLEEP* to aim high and low, but managed to get a couple good ones.
  • 0

#7 Nameless_

Nameless_

    Loving the net

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,030 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:Philosophy
    Science
    Art
    Maths
    Rowing
    Spirituality
    Psionics
  • myCENT:65.88

Posted 08 August 2009 - 10:59 AM

You need alot of patience to do this. And turn your flash of if you're indoors, the light usually rebounces off the glass and all you get is a crappy reflection of a bright white light from your flash.

You can go out in the rain if you want, but I usually just take it behind glass.
FAST and ACCURATE, that's what you want.
(All other information has already been given to you in the above posts, so I don't think you'll need me here.) :)
  • 0

#8 anwiii

anwiii

    I wont bite...unless you WANT me too

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,704 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chilhowee, MO
  • Interests:watching grass grow....
  • myCENT:62.06
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 08 August 2009 - 07:57 PM

actually all lightening shots normally should have no flash influencing the shot...indoors or outdoors since you are going to receive enough light with the low shutter speed. with a high shutter speed, you can still capture lightening, but you wont capture a lot of the dramatic effect lightening creates unless you just get lucky.

so with the low shutter speed, obviously, it will brighten up the sky and the foreground which will make the lightening less visable and dramatic. so if you don't like the output, that's what photoshop or a darkroom is for. although i personally don't like to alter an original image too much.

You need alot of patience to do this. And turn your flash of if you're indoors, the light usually rebounces off the glass and all you get is a crappy reflection of a bright white light from your flash.

You can go out in the rain if you want, but I usually just take it behind glass.
FAST and ACCURATE, that's what you want.
(All other information has already been given to you in the above posts, so I don't think you'll need me here.) :)


  • 0

#9 Echo_of_thunder

Echo_of_thunder

    Trap Grand Marshal Member

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey USA
  • Interests:Weather of all kinds, be it a tornado, thunderstorm, hurricane, snowstorm. Give it all to me!
  • myCENT:50.97
  • Spam Patrol

Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:23 AM

actually all lightening shots normally should have no flash influencing the shot...indoors or outdoors since you are going to receive enough light with the low shutter speed. with a high shutter speed, you can still capture lightening, but you wont capture a lot of the dramatic effect lightening creates unless you just get lucky.

so with the low shutter speed, obviously, it will brighten up the sky and the foreground which will make the lightening less visable and dramatic. so if you don't like the output, that's what photoshop or a darkroom is for. although i personally don't like to alter an original image too much.


So true of the flash, and as someone that has taken his share of lighening photos, good ones and bad. You have to be in the right place at the right time to get that perfect shot, also too no matter what kind of set up that you have. be it a cheap throw a way to the top $$ cam. the photo is only as good as the lightening and where it is. But main thing and the most important thing you MUST and I mean MUST remember is Lightening can kill you. so you should be very careful in taking your photos and as soon as you take it. Get to a safe place.
  • 0

#10 Ne0n

Ne0n

    Advanced Member

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 124 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London
  • myCENT:32.93

Posted 09 August 2009 - 10:59 AM

So true of the flash, and as someone that has taken his share of lighening photos, good ones and bad. You have to be in the right place at the right time to get that perfect shot, also too no matter what kind of set up that you have. be it a cheap throw a way to the top $$ cam. the photo is only as good as the lightening and where it is. But main thing and the most important thing you MUST and I mean MUST remember is Lightening can kill you. so you should be very careful in taking your photos and as soon as you take it. Get to a safe place.


You would need a top cam for this yes.
  • 0

#11 onscreen

onscreen

    Super Member

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Earth, somewhere in the middle
  • myCENT:70.0

Posted 09 August 2009 - 12:46 PM

You would need a top cam for this yes.


Nop you dont need to.

Any camera with good aperture can take decent good looking lightning shots. Compact cameras tend to have very large aperture so they are for sure a suitable camera for it since large aperture will give you good shutter speed with no delay despite its slow writing speed on certain models.

DSLR, as simple as a Nikon D5000 can do what a flagship model D3X do. What is required is a high aperture lens (F/1.8 or F/2) and you are shooting away.

There is no point to put up your flash and if you are trying to shoot from indoor, make sure you open up the window or else you will end up a shot of your mirrored self instead of the lightning. Unless you have a polarizer filter, you can not bother opening up the window during shooting.

Like what i have mentioned in my previous post. Fast lens, fast shutter speed does wonders. If you are trying to snap a lightning during a heavy storm, you a tripod and a lens hood.
  • 0

#12 mm22

mm22

    Premium Member

  • Kontributors
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 178 posts

Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:03 AM

True, what someone said, if you have a digital camera and a continuous shooting mode you can use that. Hopefully in a hundred frames you will have captured a couple of lightnings... but yes that takes a bit the fun away, I agree the best to do this kind of things is a film camera. A good SLR with not a bit of electronics will work in (almost) any weather condition and all you have to do is experimenting with aperture and timing. Yes it is possible to physically lock the shutter open, use a small aperture and as soon as a lightning strikes it will breach into the small hole and impress the film. This method is about the best in my opinion as it gives sharply clear pictures without the need for any photoshopping.

On the other hand my Nikon digital SLR also has a 30-second (or more) exposure mode but as someone pointed out it takes some time to process the image and it may not necessarily be a good one in the end. My camera has an "unlimited exposure" mode but that only works with a remote, which I don't have, so I have never tried that.

Experimenting and fantasy are sometimes all you need anyway, in most cases you don't really need expensive equipment to take good shots. I remember once I took a very good picture of a solar eclipse by holding a cheap fixed focus film camera onto the viewing lens of a cheap telescope. I just needed to find the right orientation.
  • 0

#13 Deaziz

Deaziz

    Newbie [Level 1]

  • Kontributors
  • Pip
  • 14 posts

Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:51 PM

I tried  photographing fireworks for new year and I couldn't get anything. I am new at photography but how the heck does it work? Is there a way to set it off automatically so as soon as it detects the fireworks it goes off?  My camera just couldn't focus that fast and it took forever to shoot off.


  • 0



Reply to this topic



  


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users