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Lense for shooting lightning


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Posted
  • Location: Ampney Crucis, Nr. Cirencester
  • Location: Ampney Crucis, Nr. Cirencester

    Hi, with the hoped for storms forecast early next week, I have thought about trying to get some decent shots of it if I`m lucky enough to see any at night!!

    So, got a remote control and tripod sorted, question is what lense should I be using. I guess a wide angle would be best, what do others use?

    Camera is a Eos550D, lenses I have at the moment are 18-55 zoom and 55-250 zoom. Out of those 2 I would assume the first would be more suitable?

    Any other tips? Plan to start with iso 100, F7 and 20-30 secs.

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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl

    Hi mr Noooooo,

    the 18-55 lens would be best in most cases, as long as it is easy to set the focos to infinity.

    Manual prime lenses are easier to use for lightning photos.

    Finding a storm at night may be the tricky part.

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    Posted
  • Location: North York Moors
  • Location: North York Moors

    You could go higher than F7 to maximise the shutter open time.The tricky part is deciding which way to look and being sure you are manually focused on infinity.Note this is often not right against the stop but back a bit! - try focusing on a distant light or something and use liveview if you have it.To get a more interesting shot don't forget it is still essentially a landscape scene and would benefit from some thought in composition or at least avoid ugly objects halfway into the frame,Especially if it's not fully dark you can sometimes see a fair bit of the scene lit as if by camera flash.You could experiment with a bit of light painting of foreground objects while the shutter is open, a cheap LED torch is good for this.

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    Posted
  • Location: Welwyn Herts 115m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Surprises
  • Location: Welwyn Herts 115m ASL

    Hats off to anyone managing to get a single shot of lightning with a mobile phone - amazing !!!

     

    If anyone has a camera with manual settings & fancies taking photos of lightning at night in a poorly lit street here's a handy tip or 3. Works every time (-:

     

    Based on many experiments, try this:  shutter speed=30 seconds, ISO=100, aperture=F8  (set camera to manual focus on something around 50 metres away)

     

    explanation below:

     

    With the widest angle lens you have on the camera, set the camera's ISO to 100, put the camera into 'Aperture priority mode' and set the aperture to F8. Take a light reading of your view and note down the shutter speed it displays.  Halve that shutter speed twice (this ensures the blacks in your photo remain black in the exposure) and set the camera to manual with those settings.  

     

    e.g. shutter speed light reading equals 2 minutes - divide by 2 - divide by 2 again and set the camera to manual with this:  shutter speed = 30seconds, ISO to 100, aperture to F8    - Effectively you will be under exposing by 2 stops. 

     

    Remove all lens filters/protectors (UV, haze etc) from the lens, put camera on a tripod or rest as securely as you can on a windowsill. Take photosPosted Image

     

    Sometimes you might get two 'strikes' in one photo.  If a strike is very bright it maybe worth stopping the exposure on the camera if you can or put a lens cap on to avoid over exposure. Some cameras have a 'BULB' setting so you can open the shutter with a cable release or remote control. Merely stop the exposure (close the shutter) after each 'strike' 

     

    It may take a little experimentation on the aperture setting but try not to expose for more than 30 seconds… and once you've got your setting keep taking photos till the storm is well and truly over before looking at all your shots (-:

     

    Below is shot I took a few years ago resting on a windowsill using this method, but I forgot to open the window & got rain and reflections in the glass.. but i guess it adds to the drama, Notice the 2 people on the pavement !

    post-884-0-56143200-1374668222_thumb.jpg

    We've moved home since this was taken and we're still waiting for the lightning to be as exciting Posted Image

     

    Good Luck 

     

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