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[Tuesday 22nd October 2013 at 8:39 pm]

Well, that was a rather unsuccessful attempt to photograph lightning during the storm that just passed directly overhead (with one *very* bright and loud strike about half a mile away). There were a few strikes that the digital camera on long exposure could have caught, except they occurred between photos. And then it ran out of batteries, and I discovered that the spare set were also flat.

So I turned to the film SLR, at which point the thunderstorm died down and left me with several exposures of nothingness. There *might* be one on there if my reflexes were fast enough... but I won't know until I develop the film (which is half the fun of using film).

The storm's still rumbling on nearly an hour after it started, but at a low enough rate that I'll just waste the film if I keep going with the 30-second exposure approach.
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[User Picture]From: ladyofastolat
Tuesday 22nd October 2013 at 7:51 pm (UTC)
It was directly overhead here, too, and very impressive. I tried to work out how to use "burst mode" on my camera, which I've never used before, and ended up with 100 pictures of black sky. The amazing forks of lightning only ever happened, A, in the part of the sky I wasn't pointing at, or, B, when I was peeringly anxiously at my camera, wondering why it had stopped taking pictures.
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[User Picture]From: boggyb
Tuesday 22nd October 2013 at 8:09 pm (UTC)
That's what happened with all the photos I tried on the digital camera before it ran out of battery power :)

I did do some looking online (after attempting to take a couple of photos with the film SLR by watching for a strike and then taking the photo - if I'm really lucky, I might have managed one that way) and the super-secret trick to photographing lightning is apparently just to use bulb mode, letting go of the shutter immediately after a strike. Of course, by the time I tried to do that the storm had disappeared northwards and left me with several 30-second photos of what will probably be black sky.
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[User Picture]From: tau_iota_mu_c
Thursday 31st October 2013 at 8:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, done B mode before, but you still need to limit the exposure before you get too much noise. And since I have to use the camera's noise reduction mode which takes an equal length dark frame and automatically subtracts it (I can't manually take my own dark frames every half hour as you do in astronomy, because the chip isn't cooled and its characteristics change too rapidly), I just always found the lightning would wait until the moment the shutter had closed before going off.

These have been my successes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacelama/tags/lightning (the 4th one, despite landing behind the mountains about 15km away, was absolutely blinding (a good fraction of daylight, given that the exposure is effectively fractions of a second and the mountains were lit up in the photo. If I could have predicted the necessary f-ratio before to stop it down a substantial fraction, it would have been a brilliant, pardon the pun, shot; ooh, wouldn't it be nice to be able to do HDR with lightning)

Now it just makes you insanely mad when trying to do the same thing to capture meteors, which are 100 times rarer during the peak of a shower (which only happens a handful of times per year), and the damn meteor always terminates a degree outside of the field of view, no matter where you're pointing the camera.
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