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Old Oct 15, 2004, 10:19 PM   #1
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How do you take photographs of lightning? What's the technique?


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Old Oct 15, 2004, 10:59 PM   #2
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Hum good question, I have not tried lightning with digital yet.

With film one way was to shoot at dusk or after dark, locate wheremost of the strikes were coming from and just open your shutter then wait for a strike or two to happen.

Here is one taken handheld while running for cover. (it was night time, lightning is bright and lights things up nicely)

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Old Oct 16, 2004, 12:11 AM   #3
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Another way is to open your shutter with Bulb exposure (if you have it) & hold some black cardboard over the lens & remove it as soon as you see a flash of light. (It's very similar to shooting fireworks). Although, shooting lightning is 60% timing & 20% luck.
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Old Oct 16, 2004, 1:07 AM   #4
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Especially if you are using a consumer camera with long shutter lag.

If you have a fast dSLR, here's a neat gadget I found which is a "lightning shutter release" while answering a similar question on the same subject a while back:


If you don't want to get into using that gadget, there are lots of tutorials online which can be found via Google.com and typing in PHOTOGRAPH LIGHTNING
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Old Oct 16, 2004, 2:29 PM   #5
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So I guess if I want to take pics of people in the dark without an on-board flash, should I wait for a lightning storm then open the shutter (with the camera set at ISO 50) while I have the 380mm F/8.0 lens aimed at my subject?
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Old Oct 16, 2004, 3:26 PM   #6
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How do you take photographs of lightning? What's the technique?

Actually, this thread reminded me of some shots captured not too long ago by a gentleman named Jim Hayne.

He used an Olympus E-100RS (up to 15 frames per second with a pre-capture of up to five frames).

He got a 3 shot sequence with his cameraat7.5 frames per second, shot at 1/30 second, f/2.8, ISO 100.

With it's pre-capture feature, you simply hold down the shutter button while it snaps away without actually writing to your media. When you see the shot you want, release the shutter button and itwill save up to 5 of the last frames captured at the time you release the button.

This feature makes timing much easier. Here is Jim's 3 shot sequence (he used an editor to combine the 3 frames into one image):


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