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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Nature & Landscapes 
Thread started 06 Oct 2010 (Wednesday) 16:39
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Lightning Storm over Quito

 
RafaPolit
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Oct 06, 2010 16:39 |  #1

Hi friends,

I stood this afternoon about two hours shooting outside my window. From around 500 pictures, I managed to get about 5 lightnings. Here are the two I liked most:

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Can you share your techniques for this type of scenario? I used a 3-stop ND filter, ISO 100, f22 which yielded around 0.6" exposure. After that, I only hooked a remote shooter and shoot, shoot, shoot in continuous mode until I got lightnings on cam.

As always, Critique and Comment are welcome!
Thanks,

Rafa.

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Rivest
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Oct 06, 2010 16:44 |  #2

Too bad it was around day time. By going up to F22 you are loosing some details. When it's dark outside, you can use a shutter speed of around 15 to 30 seconds, that way you have a lot more chance of getting lightning, without taking hundreds of pictures.

The first one is great, it's exposure is better than the second one. Do you still have the raw files? If so, you might want to give a try at pseudo-hdr (save it at -2 0 +2) and see what comes up ;)

Good job.


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RafaPolit
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Oct 06, 2010 16:49 |  #3

That was my intention as well... but anything higher than the 0.6" would yield a washed out image, as, as you noticed, it was daytime. Perhaps its time to get a 10 stop ND filter! :)

I'll look into doing the HDR you mention, I sort of liked the fact that the sky looked ominous with that bright spot and the lightning, but perhaps HDR produces a surreal look, I'll post the results.

Thanks for the suggestions,
Rafa.


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mjww
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Oct 06, 2010 21:07 |  #4

One surefire way is to use a lightning trigger. If it flashes in your lens coverage, you will get a picture.


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Rivest
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Oct 06, 2010 21:10 |  #5

Howmcuh does it cost just for fun?


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Mookalafalas
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Oct 06, 2010 21:29 |  #6

Hey, those are pretty neat. 2 hours! You had to put in some work to get them, but it looks like it was worth it.


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Naturalist
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Oct 06, 2010 21:31 |  #7

Rafa, you had a nice vantage point and got some good images. Thanks for posting.


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RafaPolit
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Oct 07, 2010 00:45 |  #8

Thanks fellows for all the comments. Well, since getting the T2i we have been having some storms here and I was really interested in shooting lightning... so I have had the tripod and the camera set in the right settings the afternoons hopping to catch some bolts :). But yeah Mookalafalas, it was about 2 hours getting some shots, tweaking a bit the settings: I tried a bit longer exposures (didn't work) and I tried faster as well.

I still have the feeling that with faster shutter speeds the lightning would be more shocking in the picture, but I was not able to catch them... perhaps the nicest array of bolts happened in front of my eyes while the camera was shooting and it really happened 'in between' exposures... so, as Rivest said, really longer exposures are required for more number of keepers. I'll have to wait until I have a darker setting (or a stronger ND filter).

mjww: we really don't get too many storms to justify a dedicated shooter, but I would love to see them some time in action, do you have any link to some of them?

Naturalist: actually, the vantage point is really my bedroom window from a new apartment, so I'm really happy with that as well :).

With a little more time to tweak the RAW files and use different exposures for different parts (a kind of hand-picked pseudo HDR image) I believe the second shot gets a better exposure as suggested by Rivest, I don't know if it loses a bit of the dramatic effect. What do you think?

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Thanks again for all the comments, I'm really enjoying the new camera!
Rafa.

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Mookalafalas
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Oct 07, 2010 02:43 |  #9

Do you mean because the sky becomes lighter as well as the buildings? You can use the "graduated filter" (or whatever its called) in adobe camera raw or lightroom to just change the exposure on half of the picture if you wanted... I have to admit the original was a bit murky. I like the way the buildings are visible in the second picture, although the sky has lost a bit of drama.


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RafaPolit
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Oct 07, 2010 13:56 |  #10

Mookalafalas,

The problem I faced was that if I extended the exposure time the sky became as white as the lightning, and therefore had to sub-expose a bit the pictures in order to get the lightnings to be more clear. I enhanced a little the contrast on the sky of the last image, and it does gain back a bit of the dramatics.

Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. This was my first post on the nature section, and after seeing the work posted above and below my post, there is really a long way to go before my pictures can achieve those levels: true masters of landscaping on this section of the forum!

Rafa.


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Lightning Storm over Quito
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