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How to take pictures: Lightning & Fireworks

EWomEWom Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Howdy,

So I was given a gift of a canon rebel xs for my wedding, and have pretty much only ever used the auto settings. Anyways, we have a severe weather warning (which almost never happens here, even in a total whiteout blizzard), and I was all "WTF?" Then I realized it, tonight our entire sky was lit up with lightning. Lightning every where, and it was awesome, I tried to take some pictures but 1) Could never catch it 2) If I did it was horrible and you couldn't even tell it was lightning.

So how do I do it? I've only got the standard kit lens, and a 300mm lens that came with the bundle, I've got a tripod also.

I'm assuming the same principles will work for fireworks, since I'm trying to take a picture of something bright in the night sky that doesn't stay there very long, but if there are different tips for getting good fireworks shots, I'd like them too, as our city has a pretty good little fireworks display for the fourth every year.

Thanks.

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Posts

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    All I know about taking pictures of lightning is leaving the shutter open for long exposures.

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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    set the camera to full manual

    use your tripod

    set the shutter to Bulb mode

    close down the f-stop as far as your can(higher numbers on f-stop let less light in).

    when you press down the button on bulb the shutter will stay open till you let go. for a night exposure on a fully closed aperture you're going to need to hold it for a few seconds at least. do some tests till you get the lighting level right. even with the tripod be very still and do not move the camera at all.

    repeat till you catch some lightning.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Fireworks are actually much easier, because they last longer. You can just take normal pictures, although I still recommend a tripod so they're not blurry.

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  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    welcome to the wide world of advanced photography
    i would suggest going to the library or bookstore
    this is one of the few areas where the dummy series actually does write a good introductory book
    I would also suggest Perfect Digital Photography 2nd edition by Dickman and Kinghorn or Langford's Advanced Photography.
    Really most basic photography books will go over basic things like ISO, Aperture, and Shutterspeed that will help you take awesome pictures. Just keep practicing and experimenting and you'll get to learn how to use manual mode effectively.

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  • Pinch-a-LoafPinch-a-Loaf Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I was actually just reading this article about how to photograph fireworks the other day. Going off that article I'd say use a tripod and shutter release (remote) if you've got them...go to Manual mode and set aperture between f/8 and f/16 (set your focal length and then flip to Manual focus so it stays there and you're not trying to re-focus for every shot), ISO to the lowest number possible, and use Bulb mode to open the shutter just before the firework goes off and close the shutter when it's finished exploding (generally a few seconds). Of course there are lots more helpful tips, but you'll have to read the whole article for that,

    A quick search on the site returned this article about photographing lightning.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    it's all about holding the camera still. i bet even on auto you'd get a serviceable shot from a tripod.

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  • grendlegrendle Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Google is your friend - there are a bunch of great tutorials on this on the web.

    grendle on
  • CrashtardCrashtard Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Fireworks are pretty easy to catch. I have a Nikon D60, and I got some great pictures last year using only the auto settings. The only change I made was to use the continuous shoot setting so it just snapped pictures in a rapid fire mode.

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  • embrikembrik Registered User
    edited July 2010
    I was actually just reading this article about how to photograph fireworks the other day. Going off that article I'd say use a tripod and shutter release (remote) if you've got them...go to Manual mode and set aperture between f/8 and f/16 (set your focal length and then flip to Manual focus so it stays there and you're not trying to re-focus for every shot), ISO to the lowest number possible, and use Bulb mode to open the shutter just before the firework goes off and close the shutter when it's finished exploding (generally a few seconds). Of course there are lots more helpful tips, but you'll have to read the whole article for that,

    A quick search on the site returned this article about photographing lightning.

    These are great tips. Also, do some searches on Flickr and check out the EXIF data for those pics to see how they were shot.

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