First attempt at Lightning Shots

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ravaroo, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Ravaroo macrumors 6502

    Ravaroo

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Location:
    feels like Canada South
    #1
    Had an odd storm pass thru tonight so I grabbed my D7000 & tripod and winged it. All shots were on shutter priority (2 or 3 sec) ISO 100 35mm

    Any C & C is much appreciated since I really didn't know the best way to capture the storm.
    DSC_3911.jpg

    DSC_3945.jpg

    DSC_3910.jpg

    DSC_3918.jpg

    DSC_3951.jpg
     
  2. guy curlewis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #2
    wow

    Great photos - really shows the full extent of the storm - love the details in the clouds.

    Maybe try reducing the temp of the pictures to balance the purple a bit.

    Otherwise for a first try - great
     
  3. playingthehero macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Location:
    Antioch, CA
    #3
    What state do you live, these are incredible man, good job! I'm in California, we never get lighting like that!
     
  4. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #4
    I think they are great - but I'd be tempted to edit out the wires and tweak colours etc

    I've tweak this one - adjusted things like temperature and shadows. I also quickly removed the overhead cables to give an overall impression of what I mean.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #5
    I would not have edited out the wires, they suit the subject matter !
     
  6. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #6
    Obviously it is personal choice. In this case I felt the trees were necessary but found the cables distracting. OP asked for C & C - I gave it.
     
  7. harleymhs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    #7
    Dumb question... I too own a D7000 and I live in the mountains of PA and Ive tried to capture storms like this .. HOW do you know exactly when to hit the shutter button to get these shots? It happens so fast... Thanks! PS great shots!!
     
  8. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #8
    as OP described: use a long exposure, a good tripod; and also close the aperture ...

    watch the weather and look where the clouds are moving to. Its not difficult with digital cameras anymore. Keep shooting and delete the 90% images which didn't fetched a lightning.
     
  9. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

    Joined:
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    #9
    There are threads etc about this but it is not a dumb question - basically you point the camera in the hopefully correct direction and leave the shutter open. The low quality one below was a 30 second exposure (can't remember details) but I did it without a tripod against a very black sky. Luck counts.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #10
    Nice shots ... for first try very good. As said before I would try to remove the purple color in post processing.

    And from composition point of view maybe try to get something different to add in the frame. Like some car, building, light pole, ... not just dark trees.

    The power cables are not bad actually.
    Keep shooting and stay safe while shooting lightning.
     
  11. Ravaroo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Ravaroo

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Location:
    feels like Canada South
    #11
    Thanks for the replies. :)
    I live in Northern Wisconsin and it was 95 degrees with very high humidity yesterday (almost unheard of in these parts). The majority of the lightning took place in less than 15 minutes with very little rain and no thunder. Could be considered Heat Lightning if there is such a thing.

    As far as composition goes..I literally ran out of the house with my gear and had a minute to set up before I started shooting. I picked a spot in the sky, tried to set manual focus properly (missed on a bunch), and started clicking away.
    With more time I would of headed a few blocks away to a city park and captured a sky free from powerlines. Oh well, next time I will be better off.

    As far as the purple lightning goes, that is basically what the sensor captured. I could tone down the temp a bit but then I think the pics will look even more black & white.

    My goal is to come up with a dialed-in settings group for storms that I can save under User1 or 2 and not miss a shot next time.

    sorry for long post:eek:
     
  12. Ravaroo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Ravaroo

    Joined:
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    feels like Canada South
    #12
    a few more

    this was my first shot out of the gates. 30 sec exposure & I blew the damn focus:eek:
    DSC_3884.jpg

    after reviewing some of the exif data I discovered that many of these were shot @ f1.8 which would explain the sensor getting fried on the bigger lightning flashes.
    DSC_3943.jpg
    DSC_3925.jpg

    dumb mistakes. Oh well, live & learn
     
  13. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #13
    Very nice shots! I also went outside last night to capture some lightning shots, but by then all of the lightning was internal to the clouds. :(
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #14
    I don't think it really has to do with the aperture setting but rather the WB. Shooting a raw lightning bolt is like shooting the sun. You can set a very small aperture and an incredibly short SS and still totally blow out the disk of the sun. It's just too bright.

    Did you set manual WB or auto WB? Did you shoot in RAW? I think in situations like these, AWB is going to produce strange results because there is little to no color information for the camera to guess with. It sees probably nearly pure black for most of the frame, then sees a blinding flash of lightning that blows out to highlights instantly. It just can't guess properly.

    Ruahrc
     
  15. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #15
    Nice captures, it is a neat thing to do, capture storms.
    Guess you and I have the storm chasers mentality.
    Yea, as the storm moves and you re-do composition following the lightning getting that focus nailed down manually in "the heat of the moment" can be a bear.

    Last year we had some good storms with lightning, this year not so far.
    (that's a good or bad thing - from different viewpoint)
    Took my share of shots last year - same method as you tripod/long exposures/etc.
    Post your storms/lightning/wild nature shots here
    [​IMG]

    Almost got one of these, it would save on multiple "DOA" frames you scan thru and delete, $329......ouch, still ...
    http://www.lightningtrigger.com/
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Ravaroo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Ravaroo

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Location:
    feels like Canada South
    #16
    Great point..the white balance was on auto.
    These shots were taken as jpgs but I am planning on shooting RAW for the next storm (it's looking like Tuesday night;) )

    mtbdudex: That trigger would certainly solve some of the guesswork. It's price, like you mentioned, is a lil steep but not ridiculous if one can get good use of it. Thanks for the tip!
     

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