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Branching by PhotoAlterations Branching by PhotoAlterations
As a storm chaser, I know how hard it is to get a good shot. This was one night where I was incredibly lucky.

I decided to head out and see what I could catch. I drove and drove and drove in hopes of catching this one cell. While there were many cells firing there was one was the most active.

I ended up driving about 50 miles and came across the perfect spot. I had intercepted the storm and the show I was given was simply amazing.

The pictures from this storm actually made it on the local news in my area.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

...

While not my primary camera, I use the Canon XSI 450D for my storm hunting. I would literally kill myself if I got a drop of water on my Mark II. Haha
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:iconassassin4:
assassin4 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
:wow: This is just incredible!
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010
Thank you so much! That was one incredible storm. Tonight there are storms surrounding us here in the mountains of NC. Might be able to chase a bit! Woot!
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:iconmbrsart:
mbrsart Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
That's an awesome shot! I'd love to be able to get split-second shots like this.
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010
Thank you so much! It is exciting catching this amazing storms!
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:iconmixedia:
mixedia Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow, this is brilliant. It's not just a wow as in "well done for getting the picture" it's a wow as in "it's an incredible picture too". The clouds above the lightening bolt look so angry and moody and you can really feel the rage of the storm coming through, like mother nature with PMS :XD: What are the other lights you can see? Are they houses or fires? Also, did you do anything special for this shot like use a filter and what were your settings? A pretty fast shutter speed I'm guessing?
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
Thank you so much for your positive comment! It means a lot to me.

As for this storm, it is most intense I have ever witnessed and I was CLOSE. About 7 miles away or so.

There were some shots that I missed because I had the camera zoomed in instead of zoomed out that were equally incredible. Doh! Hard to shoot a storm when you are in a truck because you are scared!!! Haha

The lights below the lightning are from a small community known has Honeycutt (I believe that is the name). Those lights are coming from homes and streets lamps.

As for my camera and settings, I do not use any filters. I do have a UV filter on the camera to protect the lens but that doesn't affect the shot. A tripod is a MUST. If the camera moves at all, consider the shot funked. I will post a picture that I took from this night here in a bit that shows a lightning bolt striking extremely close. Close enough that it shook the camera. It is scary!

As for my settings, I set my camera in manual mode. You also need to set the lens for manual focus. Automatic focus will not work as it is too dark for the camera to lock on to a subject. Make sure to check your focusing as well. You do not want to be zoomed in too far!

For this shot, my settings were...

Shutter Speed:
8/1 second
Aperture:
F/5.6
Focal Length:
28 mm
ISO Speed:
400

I personally set my camera to a timer and to take 3 photos at a time.

Hopes this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.
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:iconmixedia:
mixedia Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, I'd say you were so brave, but then I think of those poeple who got stuck in their houses, my god that must have been scary for all of you!!

Ah I see, no-one's ever actually explained filters to me in over 5 years of doing photography courses, everyone's so intent on teaching you their style of taking pictures, it's ridiculous. Thanks for letting me know that, I am now kicking myself for loosing the UV filter that came with my camera because I often take pictures of the sunsets around my home city which hurt my eyes, never mind the poor camera lens!

Yeah I very rarely use auto focus on my camera mainly because I find I can do a better job myself but also as you said the lack of lighting etc. Also when taking a picture at night like this, no doubt your camera on automatic would have tried to use the flash? Mine did and scared the life out of the hedgehog I was trying to capture!! I have a monopod but I really want a tripod. It's definitely on my "wants" list.

I don't know if it's just because it's england but we very rarely have lightening that looks like it's hitting earth. normally the best we get is a flash or maybe a fork going across the sky, but nothing this intense, I can't imagine what it must have been like.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, it's really appreciated! :hug:
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
Hey Hey, thanks again.

When we are out chasing it is all about the rush. When I was younger there were so many storms that I remember vividly. Probably the reason why I am so drawn to them now.

As for your photography course, I am sure you will learn a lot. I would love to take one myself. As you said, each photographer has their own style and their own way of getting results. It boils down to the way they understand it and the way they can make it work.

Once you find your way you will be on easy street. Heck, once I find my way I will be one easy street. :-) No photographer knows it all!

Regarding night shots, I took some photos of my sun at sun rise with a flash and a long exposure and the results were crazy. If you ever get to mess around at that time try taking some photos of people. The sky behind my son was absolutely crazy looking!

Anyways, enjoy the day my friend. Thank you for the chit chat! It was a pleasure!
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:iconxelesteddrawer:
XelestedDrawer Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
This is one lucky shot... I always end up with a black sky when I try this
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:iconlymanluver257:
lymanluver257 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
same with me xD
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
Taking photos is all about the storm. You get the storm and the camera will do all the work.

Most important aspect when taking lightning photos, DO NOT MOVE THE CAMERA.

Thank you all so very much for your comments. I really appreciate it.
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:iconmandeelion:
mandeelion Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
I am in awe of your skills right now. This is an incredible shot!
You should be so proud of yourself! :)
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
Thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it! I love nature and I love storms and weather.

I will be heading to Philadelphia later this week and what I would give to be able to capture lightning striking around a city.

Who knows, maybe I will get lucky! :-)

Thanks again!
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:iconmandeelion:
mandeelion Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010
Sure thing! I'm just telling the truth. :)

And wow, what a great opportunity! I wish you luck, and make sure to upload any cool shots you get. I'd love to see them!
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
So far, no worth while storms. Hopefully that will change soon! Come on storms!
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:iconmandeelion:
mandeelion Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
Aw, that's too bad. Well, I hope a big one comes along soon.
Maybe you should do a rain dance or something? ;)
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010
Yes, rain dance! Think it will work?
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:iconmandeelion:
mandeelion Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2010
Hey, it's definitely worth a shot! :P
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2010
No doubt. :-)
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:iconnobiliskrypton:
NobilisKrypton Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! Very lucky shot!!
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
Thank you very much! LUCKY LUCK LUCKY!

If you like, check out my gallery for more shots from this storm. I have 3 (including this one) up now with more coming soon.
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:iconnobiliskrypton:
NobilisKrypton Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i know!
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:iconjacobsonblackwaters:
JacobsonBlackwaters Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
It's pretty scary to go chasing storms like this. You really put your life on the line here just to get a good shot. And the picture's very awesome!

Sometimes lightning strikes can get so strong it can cause the air around you to become super-charged with static that it makes your hair stand... or maybe interfere with electronic things. :lol:
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
My friend, you are certainly right about storm chasing. There is always a risk.

I do use my best judgment when doing so. Over the years I have studied weather and am a member of Skywarn. A branch of NOAA (government agency); so I do know what I am doing.

This shot was taken from the driver seat of my truck. The storm was just too close to get out with a metal tripod. I sat in the passenger seat while the camera was mounted in opposite seat facing the storm.

As for the charge, I know exactly what you are talking about. When the strike is going to be very close, there is an actual 'pop' sound that can be heard. When this happens it is literally the scariest feeling I have ever had.

Thanks again my friend. I appreciate your comment!
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:iconwolfpack5554:
Wolfpack5554 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
Epic.
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
Thank you my friend!
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:iconwolfpack5554:
Wolfpack5554 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
No problem.:3
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:iconphotoalterations:
PhotoAlterations Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
:-)
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August 3, 2010
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Camera Data

Make
Canon
Model
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi
Shutter Speed
8/1 second
Aperture
F/5.6
Focal Length
28 mm
ISO Speed
400
Date Taken
Jul 26, 2010, 9:43:47 PM

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