Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

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Rasputin
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Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby Rasputin » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:03 pm UTC

I am a weather fanatic... lightning in particular. I can go from a dead sleep to wide awake if I hear thunder. Any flash of light at night will instantly train my head to the window, waiting to see if it was lightning or not.

That being said, I like to record video of thunderstorms, then pull the resulting screen shots of lightning. I will also take pictures of other awesome weather.

http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb20 ... ightning/-
- Contains my lightning pictures from this year.

http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb20 ... lr/clouds/
- Dedicated to interesting and uninteresting cloud pictures.

http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb20 ... g/thebest/
- My best lightning shots

http://albany.edu/~me381243/pics.html
- Pictures that are on my old web site

There's supposed to be some storms rolling in today, so I might be throwing some more shots on here tomorrow!

Examples from "the best":
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Also, the animated gif in my signature is from a series of frames that I pulled from one of my videos.
The Immortal One.
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pseudoMuso
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Postby pseudoMuso » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:00 am UTC

did you know they are actually aliens coming down in tubes into the earth. they pilot giant velociraptors.

but yeah. those pics are unbeleivable man. the one with the sideways lightning is my favoure. awesome.
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Rasputin
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Postby Rasputin » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:52 am UTC

pseudoMuso wrote:but yeah. those pics are unbeleivable man. the one with the sideways lightning is my favoure. awesome.


I sent that to 2 of the local news stations that night, and within 10 minutes I had replies from both stations saying they wanted to use the picture. I have videos of both broadcasts, but sadly there was no cash moneys to be had (wasn't expecting any, but would have been a sweet bonus).
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Mix
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Postby Mix » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:33 pm UTC

Those shots are awesome. I'm something of a weather geek myself, but not so much with photography. I mostly just follow the maps and data. Your stuff is way cooler.
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Rasputin
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Postby Rasputin » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:55 pm UTC

Got a new storm that came by on the 25th:

http://s210.photobucket.com/albums/bb20 ... ugust2007/

here's the highlights (and nothing else was that exciting):

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The little black speck in this one in the upper right/middle part of the image is a plane:
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The Immortal One.

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deja
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Postby deja » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:35 pm UTC

awesome pictures. how many FPS does it record?
Vu?

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Rasputin
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Postby Rasputin » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:08 pm UTC

My camera is a Casio Exilim EX-S500. The video is 640x480 at 30fps.

I have more pictures!
The Album

Highlights:
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The last image is just a branch of the bolt... it struck just off camera about 1/4 mile away. Another one on there struck less than 1/10 of a mile away (and I had to leave for class and was outside in the open when it struck).
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Poopraham Lincoln
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby Poopraham Lincoln » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:55 am UTC

Whereabouts do you live?
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby Zimia » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:57 am UTC

Thats awesome! I love the last one :) Where do you live? I get NO storms at all (probably cos i live in England...).

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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby Eleven » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:51 pm UTC

Wow, those are amazing shots.
I didn't know Albany got so much lightning. (Assuming your location is your present location)
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby armorsmith42 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:24 am UTC

Did you take the ones in the OP from on top of the roof at UAlbany? I don't see the giant cigarette, but I recognize one of the dorm towers in pics 1 & 2, as well as (I think) the top of the roof in the las one of that set
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bittyx
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby bittyx » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:47 am UTC

I took these pictures a few years ago, while on a summer vacation. I used a friend's camera. The different colours are just different white balance choices. I haven't done any editing in Adobe Photoshop© Software ( :mrgreen: ), except for resizing them from 1024x768 to 640x480.

If anyone is wondering how I made them - it just so happened that the camera in question had a really long exposure option (15secs). So I would just point to the sky, click the button and wait. Since it was night, the camera recorded very little while there was no lightning, but as soon as it flashed - instant image exposure! I didn't use a tripod and you can see it on some pictures - there are a few red dots which are actually a lighthouse on the little island, and i didn't keep my camera steady all the time, so it recorded multiple flashes in different places. Later, I placed it on a small wall, so it was okay then. Don't ask.

Hope you like them!

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sethicus
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby sethicus » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:19 am UTC

are you taking frames from videos, or are you actually taking pictures? If so, how are you taking the pictures?
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby chaosspawn » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:43 am UTC

@bittyx: :shock: Those are some damn awesome pictures . Do you happen to have the original full sizes kicking around anywhere, because I'd love to see them. The third one's probably my favorite, but they're all good.
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby elminster » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:53 pm UTC

I swear to god when I looked at 2 of those pictures I saw:
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...the giant lightning grubs are devouring the earth... :shock:

p.s. Nice pics.
Last edited by elminster on Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:54 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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bittyx
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby bittyx » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:54 pm UTC

Yup, I'll put them online today, although, I think the last one looks best in full-res.

As for the method of taking pictures - I explained it in the post with the pics, but if you didn't read, here it is, briefly - I have unimaginably quick reflexes!

...

:mrgreen:

Well, they're not frames from a video, they're photos; I'd guess that cameras that can record video at this quality tend to be a little too expensive for me :)

They were taken with a digital camera, but it's the same technique I would use on a conventional camera. I would suggest you find information on how a camera with photographic film actually works (since digital cameras basically simulate it's behaviour); you can get much more out of any device if you understand it's principles, and it's more fun that way, too! ;)

OK, so here you go:
1) It's a dark night, and it's stormy.
2) Take a tripod, or put your camera on any steady surface.
3) Point the camera towards the sky/wherever you feel you might get a good picture.
4) Set the exposure time to max; if you can set it to 15secs like I did, that's really good, if more - even better.
5) You might want to use a timer of 2secs (as you would with normal photography), just so the camera completely stops shaking from you pressing the shutter release (preventing "microshaking" can lead to much sharper photos; I'm not sure if this is the right term for it in English, but you get the idea).
6) Focus to +inf, obviously.
7) You can set the aperture size to a larger value; the image will be sharper, but it will still be bright, since lightning tends to emit a lot of light.
8) You can lower your ISO rating for the same effect (less grainy).
9) Click and wait!

Now, due to the aperture not being open too much, and the ISO being low (that is, slow film), while there's no lightning, very little information will be recorded onto the film, except for strong lights perhaps. When lightning strikes, the film will be exposed, and capture the actual lightning. Lightning stops, no more film exposure. Shutter closes, you have a very nice picture.

Obviously, you should play with your aperture and ISO values, white balance and other stuff, and the quality of the photo will largely depend on your camera, but these are the general guidelines.

I hope I explained it well, and didn't complicate too much. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! :)

P.S. I should note that I am NOT, by any means, anything close to a professional photographer; I rarely, if ever, take pictures for the sake of art (although I'm planning to, since I really like it!), and most of the pictures I have are just regular holiday pictures with friends and food and alcohol. Just to prevent any misunderstanding :mrgreen:

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sethicus
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby sethicus » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

bittyx wrote:really long explanation


I appreciate the in depth response. I still use my Pentax k1000, but have never tried to capture lightning or anything like that with it. On a side note, you can get one of those hand plungers, so instead of having to setup a delay, with a really long exposure, you could go with a manual shutter, and completely control all aspects.
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bittyx
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby bittyx » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:11 pm UTC

Yeah, that too! Although, I have never actually used a digital camera with an "unlimited" exposure time, or even heard of that, since it would probably use too much memory - I have a Canon with 15s exposure as an option, and when you do take such a long picture, it takes almost as much time to process it, i.e. you take a picture, and then for the next 15s the camera is analyzing all the data recorded and creating a single picture from it

On an analog camera, it would work just fine, though :mrgreen:

It's also fun to do any kind of night photography with long exposures, not just storms. For example, photographing busy roads in city centres at night - you get those long red and white/yellow lines from the headlights and rear lights. What fun! :)

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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby chaosspawn » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:11 pm UTC

I'm impressed with the use of the long exposure settings for the pictures. It made perfect sense to me when you mentioned the technique, it just wouldn't have occurred to me to do that. I've played around with longer exposure settings when taking pictures of my friends playing with lightsabers in the dark. People end up blurry, but you do end up with some neat sword trails.
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sethicus
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby sethicus » Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:58 pm UTC

bittyx wrote:Yeah, that too! Although, I have never actually used a digital camera with an "unlimited" exposure time, or even heard of that, since it would probably use too much memory - I have a Canon with 15s exposure as an option, and when you do take such a long picture, it takes almost as much time to process it, i.e. you take a picture, and then for the next 15s the camera is analyzing all the data recorded and creating a single picture from it

On an analog camera, it would work just fine, though :mrgreen:

It's also fun to do any kind of night photography with long exposures, not just storms. For example, photographing busy roads in city centres at night - you get those long red and white/yellow lines from the headlights and rear lights. What fun! :)


I use my k1000 when i'm doing long exposures. I'll try to get some of my black and white night shots put up.
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bittyx
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby bittyx » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:51 am UTC

Sorry for not answering earlier. There was a little disagreement between me and my computer, i.e. it wouldn't work. Here are the original lightning pictures, hope you like them.

MODS: I didn't feel like being annoyed by rapidshare, so I uploaded here. I looked for rules about the maximum filesize when attaching in a post, but couldn't find any; if it's too large to be here, certainly say so. I will then go and get annoyed by rapidshare :)
Attachments
orig.zip
(1.09 MiB) Downloaded 72 times

heidih
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby heidih » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:21 pm UTC

Damn. My husband is an electrician, he'll get a kick out of these!

Not a shock, though. Never a shock!

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Melannen
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Re: Weather Pictures, aka zOMG LIGHTNING!!!

Postby Melannen » Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:20 pm UTC

I want a nikon D40... I'll die if I dont have one!! I love these cameras soo much, I'd LOVE to take pictures of lightning!


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