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Old 25th November 2010, 07:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

A big thunderstorm swept by the southern part of Bali last night and quickly assembled my Nikon D300 and a 50mm fixed lens for some lightning hunting!

About an hour and 150 5 second exposures later i got my first touchdown!

Enjoy!


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Old 25th November 2010, 07:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Very nice.

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Old 25th November 2010, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Splendid snapshot here! Just wondering, were those hundred over 5-second exposures triggered by an interval timer (like those Phottix Nikos timers), or did you bulb-mode your shots via gut instinct?

I hope you did those shots in the safety of a sheltered area.

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Old 25th November 2010, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Nice shot

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Old 25th November 2010, 09:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Nah did it all manually. This way there was a 'window' between all the 5 second intervalls since they would only start whenever i pressed the button. I actually managed to miss 3 magnificent powerful lightning bolts this way since i was also talking to a friend next to me for a few seconds a few times during the shoot.

I took them from our house roof. I made half our roof (which is flat) into an 'observation' platform where one can relax, chill, watch the sunset or sunrise, feel the breeze, do amateur astronomy or astrophotography or... take pictures of lightning!

I was lucky that the thunderstorm drifted by down south so from where i was there was no nearby thunderclouds, lightning or even rain. You could say i got a front seat view for that show so i could not resist to setup the camera and start hunting! Very exciting stuff.

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Old 25th November 2010, 10:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Long Exposure is doable I thought?

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Old 25th November 2010, 10:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Wow man! Thats beautiful.

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Old 25th November 2010, 10:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

PRETTY!

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Old 25th November 2010, 10:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

wow nice! got to try that sometime. its quite hard to find a place in singapore where you can see the whole lighting strike to the ground...

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Old 25th November 2010, 10:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Awesome picture you have there.

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Old 25th November 2010, 11:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Wow nice!!
(Y)!!

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Old 26th November 2010, 12:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Hmm long exposure. I've found that the 5 second interval works best but i'll have to experiment more and push the limits before i say anything else. If i get longer exposures you would probably notice cloud-movements in the photograph (they will drag themselves out and create abit of a haze in the background of the lit up clouds in the foreground). You'll also have to increase the focal ratio to something higher so that the photograph doesn't become over exposed if you use longer exposures. Another negative with longer exposures is that you might be more noise as well since the ccd will be active for a longer period of time (shouldn't be be a huge difference but you could get a more grainy red result).

I took the shot in lowest possible ISO on the D300 which is 1EV below ISO 200. I think it corresponds to about ISO 100 to reduce any grainy result.

As for the lens i chose the fixed 50mm which is a lens i've more often used for portraits or anything i'd like to get super details and a crisp clear result, though, in a limited space since it's not a wide angle. If i'd use the wide angle i'd probably not get the same close up feel and details so .. ehe.. kinda funny when you think about it. A portrait lens.. not only for portraits of people but thunderstorms and lightning as well.

I guess it all depends on the distance and you can decide if it'll fit in the field of view or not. I've seen other lighting photographs where they use wide angle lenses but that's usually when they're positioned much closer to the thunderstorm and need the extra field of view.

I ran around the house all excited about this thunderstorm (same kind of feeling i got when i was 15 years old and spotted Saturn for the first time in my cheap dodgy Tasco telescope).

I'm glad you guys enjoyed the photograph. I sure had a blast taking it!

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Old 26th November 2010, 01:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

normally im not into non-people or non-animals photography... but the impact of the photo and combined with your enthusiasm.. you're the man! kudos! i love the orange glow at the bottom when it hit something.. hopefully someone in this forum that i don't like but based on the nice orange color... its doubtful someone shi tty can make pretty colors... still.. beautiful clouds formation.. and highly captivating lightning! just perfect!

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Old 26th November 2010, 01:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Very interesting. Nice one

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Old 26th November 2010, 01:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Originally Posted by De Tom View Post
Nah did it all manually. This way there was a 'window' between all the 5 second intervalls since they would only start whenever i pressed the button. I actually managed to miss 3 magnificent powerful lightning bolts this way since i was also talking to a friend next to me for a few seconds a few times during the shoot.

I took them from our house roof. I made half our roof (which is flat) into an 'observation' platform where one can relax, chill, watch the sunset or sunrise, feel the breeze, do amateur astronomy or astrophotography or... take pictures of lightning!

I was lucky that the thunderstorm drifted by down south so from where i was there was no nearby thunderclouds, lightning or even rain. You could say i got a front seat view for that show so i could not resist to setup the camera and start hunting! Very exciting stuff.
Thanks for sharing your setup! Using the 50mm was definitely an unusual option, and as shown, have proven to be useful even for non-portrait shots. (Heck, I've even seen really creative portrait shots that were taken with WA lens. Away with conventions!)

5-secs seems just nice, since like you mentioned, any longer and cloud drift may have marred the otherwise perfect capture. That observation platform of yours is definitely a good and convenient place for astro- and meteorological photography, since it doesn't look like you have to worry about things like 'light pollution' from city buildings and other infrastructure.

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Old 26th November 2010, 02:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Originally Posted by De Tom View Post
Hmm long exposure. I've found that the 5 second interval works best but i'll have to experiment more and push the limits before i say anything else. If i get longer exposures you would probably notice cloud-movements in the photograph (they will drag themselves out and create abit of a haze in the background of the lit up clouds in the foreground). You'll also have to increase the focal ratio to something higher so that the photograph doesn't become over exposed if you use longer exposures. Another negative with longer exposures is that you might be more noise as well since the ccd will be active for a longer period of time (shouldn't be be a huge difference but you could get a more grainy red result).

I took the shot in lowest possible ISO on the D300 which is 1EV below ISO 200. I think it corresponds to about ISO 100 to reduce any grainy result.

As for the lens i chose the fixed 50mm which is a lens i've more often used for portraits or anything i'd like to get super details and a crisp clear result, though, in a limited space since it's not a wide angle. If i'd use the wide angle i'd probably not get the same close up feel and details so .. ehe.. kinda funny when you think about it. A portrait lens.. not only for portraits of people but thunderstorms and lightning as well.

I guess it all depends on the distance and you can decide if it'll fit in the field of view or not. I've seen other lighting photographs where they use wide angle lenses but that's usually when they're positioned much closer to the thunderstorm and need the extra field of view.

I ran around the house all excited about this thunderstorm (same kind of feeling i got when i was 15 years old and spotted Saturn for the first time in my cheap dodgy Tasco telescope).

I'm glad you guys enjoyed the photograph. I sure had a blast taking it!
Actually 50mm is not a portrait lens.
True that people usually use 50mm as a portrait lens for it's aperture but come to think of it any lens can take a nice portrait too if you know what you are doing. Heck i can even use a 70 200 for portraits and no one would even know.

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Old 26th November 2010, 02:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

Sorry i wasn't clear on why i called that 50mm a portrait lens. It's a F 1.4 lens so you can get those warm fuzzy background shots with it making it my prime portrait lens, but, like you say. Any lens can pretty much be used for portrait shots. I could probably use my 300mm if the person would be on a reasonable distance away from me.

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Old 7th January 2011, 07:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 7th January 2011, 08:03 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

looks very professional. i like!

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Old 9th June 2011, 12:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: My first Lightning Touchdown Photograph

capture images in a meaningful and felt that they were like life

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