photographing a thunderstorm at night...

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marshall
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20 Jul 2010, 2:56 am

My first successful lightning photographs. The storm happened Sunday night at about 11:30 PM. I just got undressed and crawled into bed when I saw a flash outside my window.

After one look at the radar I decided to get dressed, hop in the car, and drive to the cornfield I just discovered a couple miles north of my apartment. I sat there in my car a good 30 minutes as the small cluster of cells passed pretty much directly overhead with tons of lightning bolts all around. It was actually easier when the storm had moved just to the east because then I at least knew which direction to point my camera.

The only issue is if you look closely you can tell that I photographed through the windshield and there's some blurring from all the water. Though it doesn't look like it it actually was raining VERY hard, so I was surprised I could get anything. I obviously decided not to roll down the window and point my camera out.

Image

Image

Image



Last edited by marshall on 20 Jul 2010, 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ferdinand
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20 Jul 2010, 3:01 am

Nice.


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saintetienne
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20 Jul 2010, 3:02 am

great photos! what are the exposure times?



MONIQUEIJ
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20 Jul 2010, 3:02 am

nice photo


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marshall
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20 Jul 2010, 3:14 am

saintetienne wrote:
great photos! what are the exposure times?


I had it set to "bulb". I propped the camera on the dash with some books and used my remote control shutter release. I just held down the button and stared out the window until I saw a bolt, then released it. I never had to hold it down more than 30 seconds before there was something. There were flashings every 2-4 seconds and bolts you could see about 15 seconds apart. Because it wasn't a very big cell they were all happening in nearly the same place. I just had to point my car east and get the camera balanced. Later on I got the best shots by only keeping the shutter open 10 seconds or less. I found that when I was leaving it open for up to 30 seconds the smaller flashes washed everything out too much.

Early on the camera slipped down and fell off the dash just as a really big bolt hit less than a quarter mile away. It would have been right in the frame but I just missed it since the camera fell.



Last edited by marshall on 20 Jul 2010, 3:43 am, edited 3 times in total.

Kat15
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20 Jul 2010, 3:16 am

What are those streaks in the sky?



marshall
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20 Jul 2010, 3:18 am

Kat15 wrote:
What are those streaks in the sky?


Power lines. Unfortunately I couldn't move them out of the way. :)



Kat15
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20 Jul 2010, 3:20 am

marshall wrote:
Kat15 wrote:
What are those streaks in the sky?


Power lines. Unfortunately I couldn't move them out of the way. :)


Oh i should have known that, stupid me. Oh well those pictures are really cool. Good job.



marshall
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20 Jul 2010, 3:39 am

Okay here are the settings.

1st photo:

focal length: 28mm (35mm equivalent)
shutter: 6.0sec
f_stop: F14
iso: 800

2nd photo:

focal length: 28mm (35mm equivalent)
shutter: 6.2sec
f_stop: F14
iso: 800

third photo:

focal length 28mm (35mm equivalent)
shutter: 4.8sec
f_stop: F14
iso: 800



Tomasu
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20 Jul 2010, 6:00 am

^^ Woowwww, I believe your photographs are very magical, thankee marshall!


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