The Weather Last Night...


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May 23, 2004
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Last night, the weather down here took a sharp turn away from the glorious clear skies that have been in place for most of this week.

After the first couple of hours of what proved to be quite a prolonged and fierce electrical storm, temptation got the better of me. I grabbed my camera and Helen and I headed out to the centre of it.

We enjoyed a spectacular show from mother nature, and I managed to get a few half-decent shots fired-off, I think this one's a keeper...




There was some cracking fork lightning here too last night, but even if I hadn't been at work my camera abilities would never have been able to catch it!
Nice work, what settings were you using? Pretty damn quick shutter I presume. Oh, is it filtered?

Thats a great picture! Now I'm not brilliant with photos, but how the hell did you capture that? Was it a case of waiting with a trigger finger and as soon as you saw lightning, you snapped away?
Cheers guys :beerchug:

As Chris says, it's all about long exposures.

I'm just about to upgrade most of my kit, but the above photo was taken with my trusty old EOS 350D, with the standard (average) kit 18-55 lens (no filter in this case).

Method: Camera was mounted on a Gorillapod (SLR) on the car door with the window open (on the window sill if you see what I mean). Manual exposure mode, ISO100, 18mm at f/5.0, focus at infinity and locked (switched to manual). I used a cable-release which I can lock open with the camera set in bulb mode. Bulb is marginally better than a timed exposure because you can close the shutter just after your 'fork' disappears, so you can prevent any following sheet lightning or forks adjacent to your frame from causing the background sky to become lighter (or overexposed) - otherwise you can get by playing with 10-30 second exposures (depending upon the ambient light in the scene).

Thanks again for your comments guys :thumbsup:

Thanks for the full explanation, that's what I was after. I was wondering why there was so little noise, thinking you must have set a high ISO in the dark, but the long exposure explains that for me. Thanks again. :icon_thumright:

Thanks for clarifying the filter - you have caught some nice variation of temperatures too.
I'll post a little JPG of the file as it came out of the camera later...

The's a bit of noise in the road and the hedge, and some of that is because there was a not insignificant amount of amber(ish) light from street-lights behind cast onto them. The actual expsore was quite a bit brighter than that (the sky was a very light grey), but I pulled everything down a bit in Adobe Camera Raw before applying a little unsharp mask. Oh, and I spot-healed/cloned out a couple of power-lines too. I know the magazines all bang on about it unrelentingly in every single issue, but shooting RAW was important too (unless your doing sports or similar photography (lots of shots in quick succession), shooting JPEG is shooting yourself in the foot :) ).

Thanks again,

That's a cracking shot FO.

We got some severely heavy rain at about 04:00 this morning, woke me up in fact, few flashes and rumbles but I don't think it came close enough to us in the end........which is a real pity as I love a good storm, tried to keep my eye's open this morning but at that time, I lasted all of about 20 minutes :lazy:
At nearly 200,000 miles per second, its pretty brisk lol

I need to get myself a decent camera for proper photos!
Great pic Rob, I did point the camera out the back door and got this. Not quite to the standard of yours, but acceptable for a quick shot.

Nice shot there, looks great with the trees :)

Long exposures rule, I've not done any for a long time but I think that might change now :)
otherwise you can get by playing with 10-30 second exposures (depending upon the ambient light in the scene).

I'm still guessing that timing is everything. Did you take the picture just as it happened with a 10-30 sec exposure, or did you take a picture randomly with the 10-30 sec exposure and hope lightning struck?

Sorry for the noobish questions but we had a fantasic electrical storm here last year and I wanted to take pictures but didn't have a clue what setting to put it on!

mac1403: That's a pretty good cap mate, and it looks like the storms were quite fierce over quite an area!

lil_coz: I was using bulb, but if you set aperture to around f/5.0, and use a shutter speed of between 10 and 30 seconds (if you don't have bulb shutter) you just release the shutter and hope for lightning in the frame within the exposure time, and if there's none, keep repeating until there is :)


I may have been tempted to go to about f/16 or thereabouts....

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