November 23, 2014, 10:11:44 PM

Author Topic: Help: lightning photography?  (Read 2089 times)

TrabimanUK

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 199
  • In the words of Brian Johnson - "Shoot to thrill!"
    • View Profile
Help: lightning photography?
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:46:30 AM »
Hi guys,
We had a great storm last night with loads of lightning. I tried to take some shots but nothing came out.

I have a 7d and a 5diii at my disposal along with a canon 24-70, 70-200 is I and a tammy 150-600. I was using the 7d and 24-70 last night.

Could anyone please let me know what sort of settings would be best on which camera and which lens, as we are scheduled for more lightning tonight.

Huge thanks in advance,

Grant :)
Canon 1D, 5D, 5DIII, 70D, 60D, SX150-IR/UV, 50 f1.8, 70-200 f2.8 IS II, 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM,
 Sigma 10 F2.8 EX DC DIAGONAL FISHEYE HSM,  12-24 DG HSM, 24-70 f2.8 IF EX DG HSM

canon rumors FORUM

Help: lightning photography?
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:46:30 AM »

Marsu42

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 5062
  • ML-66d / 100L / 70-300L / 17-40L / 600rts
    • View Profile
    • 6D positive spec list
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 05:07:19 AM »
Could anyone please let me know what sort of settings would be best on which camera and which lens, as we are scheduled for more lightning tonight.

There's a dedicated Magic Lantern motion detect module for this very purpose, see their site magiclantern.fm and google "magic lantern lighting" => results like http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7002555087/lightning-photography-with-magic-lantern

Djaaf

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
    • MyFlickr
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 05:12:45 AM »

Could anyone please let me know what sort of settings would be best on which camera and which lens, as we are scheduled for more lightning tonight.

Huge thanks in advance,

Grant :)

Well, for starter, the lens to use depends mostly of your view on the lightning storm.
If you're, say, on a hill with the heart of the storm a few dozens kilometers away, use the 70-200.
If you're in or close to the heart of the storm, the 24-70 should be better suited. :)

Next, find a place that's not under the rain and if possible not too exposed to the winds. (yeah, not that easy in a storm, I know... I find that the back of a car, with the hatchback open, is fine (mostly) if there's nothing better nearby)

Now, concerning the parameters to use : First, manual focus to a building/landmark/etc... near the place where the lightnings strike.
Next, put your camera to 100 iso, f/5.6 to f/8 and 5 to 10s exposure (this depends on the ambient light. In a city, 5s is plenty enough. In the country, 10s may be a bit too little. The goal is that your picture should be very dark if there are no lightnings on it. You're counting on the lightnings to provide light (think of them as big deported cobra flashes. :) ).
 
Then fire up the magic lantern intervallometer (or do it through the EOS utility, or manually at worst), and go for 10 pics at a time. :)

Most of those, there will probably be nothing to see. But on some of them there will be one, two or more lightnings lighting the sky and the landscape. :)

Good luck !
Canon EOS 6D, 24-105 f/4 L, 100 Macro L IS, Voigtlander 20 f/3.5, Samyang 14 f/2.8

brianftpc

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2014, 06:01:27 AM »
I have a canon 1dx so the settings to the 5Diii should be about the same. Ive only done this at night. I use f22, iso 100-250 and shutter speed 30 seconds. if there is a lightning strike within 30 seconds it will be in the pic. I focus manually on a treeline or the farthest object I can see. I simply point the camera where the most action is coming from, push the button, 30 seconds passes, push it again till Im tired of doing it. I used the 24-70mkii.

1st pic is original second is playing with it in RAW
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 06:44:18 AM by brianftpc »

awinphoto

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2010
    • View Profile
    • AW Photography
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2014, 09:09:19 AM »
Lastly, heed the advice from my photographer grandpa after i sent him pics of lightnings...  "lighting seeks out photographers in the middle of storms".... so be safe and be careful. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 430EX 2's and a lot of bumps along the road to get to where I am.

MTL18

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 09:53:13 AM »
Last storm I used f14, iso 100, 30s using my 50mm (f1.8 ) lens on a 60d. Tripod necessary. Got one nice picture in about 25 tries. Takes patience. A remote shutter makes it less annoying. Edited it to make the picture colder (blue). Uploading a JPEG so you can see.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 10:51:55 AM by MTL18 »

niteclicks

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 11:19:02 AM »
I use a detector. I tried several and this one works best http://www.togastro.com/toga_ld.html . Mine is one of their prototypes, but I assume the new ones work as well. Really makes it simple, set the camera up where it is protected, then get somewhere where you are safe. Nothing bets a good lightning storm.  :)

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 11:19:02 AM »

dhr90

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 110
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 11:20:22 AM »
An article I found a few days ago had this piece of wisdom to share: "If you find yourself reaching for your fisheye, then you're too close."  ;D

In all seriousness, if you're stood outside, plan a retreat to your car/house/place of safety if you need to make a quick getaway.

I'd go with something like ISO 100 at f12 for 5-10seconds. Focal length, wider gives you greater chance of catching a strike, but wider risks losing it I the general picture.
Canon 7D, 24-105L, 70-200 f2.8 IS II, Tokina AT-X124 12-24 f4 AF PRO DX II

dbm

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 21
  • 5diii
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2014, 12:10:20 PM »
the advice here is much better than my strategy, which involved anticipatory clicking with a hope of getting lucky

Famateur

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2014, 12:35:02 PM »
I use f22, iso 100-250 and shutter speed 30 seconds. if there is a lightning strike within 30 seconds it will be in the pic. I focus manually on a treeline or the farthest object I can see. I simply point the camera where the most action is coming from, push the button, 30 seconds passes, push it again till I'm tired of doing it.

This is how I do it, too.

Unfortunately, Magic Lantern isn't available for the 70D, so I do it manually. I once programmed an old TI-82 graphing calculator to act as an intervalometer for my G12, and it worked beautifully. Not sure the cable/jack is the same as for the 70D...maybe I should take a look! :)

dcm

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • 6D, M
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 01:17:42 PM »
Lots of advice on the net if you search, even some devices that will trigger on a lightning strike.  Didn't find anything useful on Canon sites.

Attended Nikon School of Photography back in my film days even though I was shooting with Canon gear.  The Nikon School Handbook is a pretty useful starting point when I'm not sure, but its at home right now. How to Photograph Lightning on the Nikon School site gives some good advice.
6Ds, M, zooms and primes

Famateur

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 01:25:12 PM »
I once programmed an old TI-82 graphing calculator to act as an intervalometer for my G12, and it worked beautifully. Not sure the cable/jack is the same as for the 70D...maybe I should take a look! :)
Huzzah! The jack is the same on the 70D as it is on the G12. The cable fits!

I'm going to go dig up my TI-82 and try my luck again...  :P

davidcl0nel

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 39
  • Canon 5D Mark III, 17 TSE, 35 IS, 100 L...
    • View Profile
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2014, 01:29:42 PM »
f/8-f/11, Tripod or safe Windowboard, ISO 100, Wideangle (35mm FF or so) and round about 15 seconds duration per shot. Manual focus to a distant object, tree line or so.
You can watch the storm, where the next lightning stroke has the most possibility, but don't twist the position every lightning you have missed. The thunderstorm will be moving... You propably need 100x captures and if you are lucky you got a wonderful shot. If now? Try next time.... You won't see the 99 other captures of other people, you only see the good picture - so don't be sad...

Afterwards you need to twist a little bit the white balance. Automatic white balance will show you propably a purple sky - which isn't what I want. ;-) Change it to gray or blue, as you like...

My best shot:

Gewitter / Thunderstorm in Berlin by davidcl0nel, on Flickr

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2014, 01:29:42 PM »

mdmphoto

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 101
    • View Profile
    • Mike McReynolds Photography
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2014, 02:35:55 PM »
How do you like the tamron 150-600? I've owned a sigma 150-500 for a couple of years now, but am fiending over the additional 100mm the tammy offers...
6D, 7D,50D, 17-55IS, 24-105L, 70-200 Fl2.8L IS, 135L, tokina 16-28, 150-500 & a buffet more, 580 EXII, 430 EXII, AB 800's

jrista

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4627
  • EOL
    • View Profile
    • Nature Photography
Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2014, 02:44:41 PM »
The trick with lightning photography is to expose for long enough, at a narrow aperture, and do so repetitively, that you capture live bolts. Personally, I use a simple $35 intervalometer with my 7D and 5D III, along with exposures around 10 seconds, ISO anywhere from 100 to 3200, and apertures around f/8 to f/16 (depends on the time of day/night and intensity of the flashes).  I usually program the intervalometer to take a few hundred shots, and after pointing both cameras in the direction of lightning activity, I just let em rip.

Here is a recent shot (I have more, haven't processed them all yet):



It's also possible to use lightning preflash detectors to look for the initial burst and dispersal of electrical energy that preceeds the main bolt. These will automatically trigger your camera for you once the preflash has been detected. They are pretty accurate these days, and the nice thing about them is you don't have to expose for a long period of time, which blurs the clouds.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 02:46:57 PM by jrista »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Help: lightning photography?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2014, 02:44:41 PM »