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How to shoot lightning in the daytime?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LSUDVM, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. How does one shoot lightning during the daytime? Short of buying the lightning trigger...

    I mean how do you time the shutter to capture it. At night i rely on bulb mode and hold the shutter open and that works but in the daytime it wouldnt.
  2. you cant time the shutter, it has to be open when the lighting hits, meaning you basically need to hold down the shutter until the card is full

    humans usually react to the sound (thunder ) your to late already.

    even if you can do it form the light your reaction = ~30ms plus camera lag = you get the very end or miss

    I got this with my D40 jsut holding the shutter down


    than this a few frames later, after this i went inside as the storm was to close for my linking lol
  3. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    ND filters for longer exposure or luck. :wink:
  4. yes those to i have a 9 and 2 stop stack them for 11 stops......... make day night

    BUT it sometimes doesn't give the results you want, weak litghing = tiny streams of light in the frame lol
  5. Less density, more shutter attempts.

  6. yes i found the 2 stop worked better. i still use the 9 stop if its very bright out tho :biggrin:

    i usally put hte 2 stop at night....... help block out the light pollution
  7. A six stop ND (B&W makes one) should give you 15 seconds+ exposure in daytime storm conditions @ ISO 100, f22. It is possible to time your shots, but most will be misses.
  8. I have been wanting to shoot lightning in storms for quite some time now but never really knew how to approach this. Thanks to you all for the tips and ideas.

    Here is a thought though to contribute, if one could afford it, those lightning triggers might be another option. They are rather pricey but could be worth the investment. Also, there are others who have tried a DIY lightning trigger with decent results.

    As for me, I do not have the $$$ to buy the unit or the time to build my own. I think stacking ND filters is my best option.

    God Bless,
  9. Glad this thread has helped you out David. See my other thread for an image from last night.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  10. McGunnigle


    Jul 13, 2009
    Thanks for these comments... really helped me
  11. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Daytime lightning will never be as dramactic as night shots.

    1/200th. Luck plays a big role at this shutter speed.
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    2 seconds
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    5 seconds
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    10 seconds
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    30 seconds
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  12. I've debated purchasing the lightning triggers for a while. Now that I'm satisfied (more or less) with my kit, I might take a closer look at them. I'll just have to be sure to buy them before my contract ends with the Corps of Engineers - as the job is my main source of $$$ for photo gear.
  13. Like I said earlier...sometimes 'Spray and Pray' is successful...
    Racetrack, Death Valley, ISO100, 1/2 second @ f11
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I was standing in that spot on the south end of the Racetrack about 20 minutes before this capture:eek: !
  14. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY

    Those are awesome captures of lightning. I'm in awe with the 10 sec and 30 sec shots.
  15. Koran


    Feb 9, 2009
    Indian Head, MD
    Where can you buy a lightning trigger and what do they cost?

    Beautiful captures. I spent an hour in some great lightning and all of mine came out blurry. I set to infinity and the show was amazing. Rain held off an hour. I think the blur is holding the shutter down manually. I have a remote but its wireless and not too reliable, the ML-2 something or other! LOL
  16. http://www.lightningtrigger.com/
  17. I really have no advice. The only good shot I was able to get, I took at 3 seconds, at f/4.5. pure luck. And like it has been noted before, Just hold the button down and pray. lol

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  18. with the D300 just prgram it to take pics untill the cars is full :wink:
  19. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Thanks. I have not seen a storm like the one in the 30 second exposure since. That storm had violent lightning.

    Tripod is a must. Manual focus, and manual exposure. Aperture is usually f/8 to f/16. Shutter speed is typically 2 seconds to 60 seconds depending on the storm and the camera. I use wireless remote on some cameras but the internal delay works fine too.
  20. Hi.

    Before I got my ND, I ran into a huge thunderstorm (the city 20 miles north was flooded) and had my D300, a 17-55 and my tripod with me.

    I set the ISO to 100 (low -1), set the aperture to 22, dialed in a +1 overexposure (buys me another stop and is easily correctable in PP on a cloudy day). Then I got the cam on the triped, selected Ch and locked the cable release.

    From 400 or so images I took I got about a dozen which contained lightnings. I got 1/3 of a second as exposure time.

    This evening, I ordered a ND filter ...

    Some of the results:

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    View attachment 388410

    View attachment 388411

    View attachment 388412

    View attachment 388413

    I totally agree that nighttime shots are more dramatic, but I also like to see the landscape around me ...


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