View Full Version : Summer Lightning

Jason Hahn
02-15-2008, 09:29 AM
From last summer this was the first time I had tried to photograph lightning, we had a monster storm bearing down on us right after sunset. After a few long exposures and watching the flashes of intracloud lightning and varying light levels each burst produced, I had the idea to run multiple exposures, and run it through Photomatix. This shot is a combination of 5 10-15 sec exposures over a four minute period, ranging from a dark frame with a single bolt to a bright frame with multiple bolts. Photomatix treated the 5 shots as from +2 to -1. I ran both details and tone versions of the shots, and placed them in layers over the brightest image from the group. Ran noise ninja, and this was the end result. Color was thanks in part to light pollution from a nearby town, and smoke in the air from a nearby swamp fire that had been burning

1D MkII, 17-35, multiple exposures


Alfred Forns
02-15-2008, 09:38 AM
Hi Jason Spectacular sky colors to go along with the lightening !!! High impact and appealing A couple of things I see that could help The upper part of the frame (particularly UL) could go a tad lighter for better transition still keeping it on the dark side The bottom trees just showing would just crop or had more at the time it was made

Big Thanks for the explanation on how it was made I was thinking on doing some this summer Have been looking into the lightening trigger Might be the best way to go? Have you tried it? Big Congrats

Roman Kurywczak
02-15-2008, 10:01 AM
Hi Alfred,
I have/use the lightning trigger and I really like it............it is most useful when the light is bright (during a daytime thunderstorm) when you can't possible time the lightning.........at dusk, or later in the day......since the exposures tend to be longer.........this becomes easier as sometimes you can leave your shutter open for seconds, not fractions of a second. It is extremely sensitive and will trigger the camera even if the lightning is off to the side. Not a big deal with digital now but it used to waste a lot of film. I do feel it is the best way to go as you can leave your camera somewhere covered .......with the trigger on........and retreat to the safety of a vehicle or building. Sometimes in a storm, it can be pretty nerve wracking.
Hope this helps,

Alfred Forns
02-15-2008, 10:13 AM
Thanks Roman From your info looks like it is what I want Late afternoon thunderstorms with still light and colors We certainly have enough of them around here !!!

Bret Edge
02-15-2008, 11:56 AM
Beautiful sky color and dynamic lightning bolts. I would have included more trees at the bottom to anchor the image. As-is they appear to be an afterthought and would recommend cropping them out entirely. Excellent work!

Robert Amoruso
02-15-2008, 01:36 PM
I like the swirly clouds and the color is nicely saturated. Tree at the right is a nice anchor but I agree with Bret on the trees along the bottom edge.

Good idea on the Photomatix use and thanks for explaining that.

Nice to see you back Jason.

Paul Marcellini
02-15-2008, 07:39 PM
Well done, and thanks for the technique info. I have manually blended shots before but never tried it like you describe.

Alfred, the biggest issue down here I found was mosquitoes. I shot the summer storms a lot in the Everglades and nearly got eaten alive. The next best solution to the lightning trigger may be a wireless manual trigger. I had a wired one that I fed through the window and rolled it back up and then sat in my jeep.

Jose Suro
02-15-2008, 08:25 PM
Outstanding. I will have to look into this technique. Great work.