Toms River NJ Lightning Storm; 5/31/02, Photographing Lightning?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DeathStar1, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

    Dec 28, 2001
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    OK Folks, for all of you down the Jersey Shore, you know we had one hell of a light show last night, lasting for about an hour, and with many dangerous lightning strikes about us. I'm still damned surprised that not ONE of them hit the water tower, or any part of the Seaside Heights boardwalk with all the power they where generating there before they finally decided to turn it off.
    But a question. What's a good way to photograph lightning? I was thinking of using a web cam, something that I can set up and program to record a storm from the second floor window. We're one of the taller houses now, so we could see the storm out there for miles before it actually got to us, with lots of great lightning strikes seen. Also, when we where driving down rt 287 to get there at about 7PM, there was the strangest cloud I've ever seen.
    Damned thing was VERY low, lightning flashing about it like you would see in a Tornado video. Even one little spindle of a cloud looking like it MIGHT be starting to reach toward the ground, but thankfully nothing did. REALLY wish I could have gotten a picture of the thing, because a few people found it interesting enough to pull off to the side of the road and watch [​IMG]...
    Any ideas?
  2. Matt Krapf

    Matt Krapf Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Hi Neil.

    My friend used to photograph lightning fairly regularly.
    It seemed fairly easy to me, but he may have been over-simplifying the case.

    He set his camera on a tripod, either in an unused room(with a window, or outside under a patio roof, looking in the direction of the storm.

    All this is at night, by the way.

    He's set the shutter to infinity and leave it open for long periods, all the while closing the aperature WAY down so that ambient night light(moon, lights, etc.)-- between lightning strikes -- wouldn't over-expose the shot.

    The idea went that he could leave the camera behind, and if there was a bolt or actual strike, it had sufficient light to expose the film in that instant, whereas the small aperature and infinity setting would allow the between-strike ambient light to expose gradually.

    Other times, he'd just trip the shutter the instant he saw lightening start, and release it when that moment passed.
    He'd then advance the film and wait for the next time.

    He coud walk away, or shoot manually. His shots came out great. Sometimes very eerie, on the single all-night exposures. Multiple stikes on one shot.

    This was a long time ago, and I may be forgetting something. I hope this is at least helpful.

    Good luck. Post what you capture.

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