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Subject: "A little lightning tonight" Previous topic | Next topic
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 18-Jun-11 02:01 AM
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"A little lightning tonight"
Sat 18-Jun-11 11:02 AM by nrothschild

US
          

I usually try to catch some lightning when I'm at the beach in early June.

The strike was quite overexposed because of the tremendous light output (a couple of stops above the prior strike I shot). But nothing I couldn't fix easily in post.

D300 24-70 F/28 AFS @24mm
Gitzo 1228 Markins M20
ISO 200 f/8 25s

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
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Wingman Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
1
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PaLarry
18th Jun 2011
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ShrimpBoy Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
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nrothschild Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
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19th Jun 2011
15
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Mark Wells Gold Member
18th Jun 2011
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jtmcg Gold Member
18th Jun 2011
5
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RockNGoalStar Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
6
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nrothschild Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
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htan Silver Member
18th Jun 2011
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esantos Moderator
18th Jun 2011
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AlpineGalleria
18th Jun 2011
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pjr Gold Member
19th Jun 2011
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skiroc Silver Member
19th Jun 2011
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19th Jun 2011
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Kadmos Silver Member
19th Jun 2011
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Wingman Silver Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2002Sat 18-Jun-11 03:12 AM
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#1. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Kimberley, CA
          

Amazing and wonderful! I can't think of anything else to say...

Neal Nurmi

---Wingman Photo---

  

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PaLarry Registered since 14th Apr 2011Sat 18-Jun-11 04:23 AM
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#2. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 1


Sarver, US
          

Wow, I like it. Very nice.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ShrimpBoy Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Sat 18-Jun-11 05:27 AM
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#3. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Brighton and Hove, GB
          

>I usually try to catch some lightning when I'm at the beach
>in early June.

Other people try to catch some sun.

That's an amazing image. How long did you have to wait to get this strike?

Gary
"Yea, Sussex by the sea!" - Rudyard Kipling

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 18-Jun-11 11:25 AM
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#8. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

Thanks for all the kind comments last night

Gary,

I almost missed the storm... I was cleaning out my fridge in preparation for turning over this vacation rental unit today. I thought I grabbed my D700 and the 70-200VR because when I first saw it the storm was distant and the shot looked like it would be quite tight.

But... I had my D700 on my 500/4, where usually I have the D300 on that lens. That put me with the D300 and 70-200 but by the time I realized that I needed to just shoot. On my ~17th frame I got a very nice single bolt at 100mm DX but I obviously needed to re-gear because the strikes were becoming less predictable and getting closer. On my 18th frame I swapped in the 24-70. This shot was about my 27th frame, about 17 minutes into the shooting sequence.

In other words I was totally behind the curve the entire shoot because I made a bad decision with the lens and had the wrong body, and generally wasn't mentally ready to do this. So there was some luck involved

The exposures started at 13s and progressed to 25s (should have just made it 30) as it darkened, the storm moving through during late dusk. I thought about using the intervalometer but decided against it because I wanted to be able to review the shots as they occurred.

There is a certain pattern to these evening storms. They move fast and there is usually about a 15 minute optimum window, at most. The best shots are on the approach and only when the lightning occurs on the leading edge. Otherwise the lightning tends to get obscured if it is buried back in the cell.

I've also tried to shoot the trailing edge after it passes overhead, and in that case I move to my patio and shoot over the ocean. I've never gotten good shots on the ocean (trailing) side.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Robman3 Registered since 12th Apr 2010Sun 19-Jun-11 09:28 AM
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#15. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 8


West of Santa Monica, US
          

Liking the luck part, one of your best.

Thanks,

Rob

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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Mark Wells Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2004Sat 18-Jun-11 06:00 AM
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#4. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 18-Jun-11 06:01 AM by Mark Wells

Adelaide, AU
          

To my eye Neil, that is an outstanding shot, including the composition! Well done.

Cheers, Mark

Mark Wells

  

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jtmcg Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007Sat 18-Jun-11 09:22 AM
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#5. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Simsbury, US
          

Spectacular lightning shot Neil!

John

  

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RockNGoalStar Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Sep 2010Sat 18-Jun-11 10:05 AM
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#6. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


GB
          

I absolutely love this! Awesome capture!

What is that dark triangle on the left?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 18-Jun-11 11:34 AM
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#9. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Hi Tommy,

Thanks for the kind comments and the reminder I need to do some more work on the image.

My post processing, using CaptureNX2, included a significant tightening of the black point in a layer mask that included only the sky.

Everything below the horizon was exactly as shot and was a prefect exposure in the context of what I was trying to do. The problem was the bolt was too bright .

The tightening of the black point resulted in a severe contrast stretch and effectively a reduction in "exposure" of the sky. I think that triangle is due to the fact that the lightning was acting like a huge flash gun that didn't quite cover the scene. The same effect, to a slightly lesser extent in the lower right corner of the sky. It is not obvious in the out of camera image but the contrast stretch brought it out.

I need to figure out how to get rid of that dark patch, or tone it down a bit, without otherwise screwing up the image. I made a quick stab at it last night but decided to just post it as is and deal with it when I have more time.

Here is the out of camera image rendered from the embedded JPG using PhotoMechanic.


_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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htan Silver Member Nikonian since 05th May 2009Sat 18-Jun-11 11:23 AM
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#7. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Ringoes, US
          

Oh WOW!!! Beautiful shot Neil.

Cheers,
Hector
Flemington, NJ Nikonian

Hector Tan Photography

My Nikonians gallery

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Sat 18-Jun-11 03:19 PM
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#10. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


McAllen, US
          

Neil, incredible image! You nailed this one. I really like the foreground, it adds that over-the-top element of interest in the scene. This one has it all. Congratulations.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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AlpineGalleria Registered since 12th Jun 2011Sat 18-Jun-11 04:10 PM
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#11. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I love this shot! Your composition is spot on in my opinion. I really like the minimal foreground and tall sky. I also think the exposure is perfect on my monitor. I wouldn't lighten it at all. The moody overall feel makes the lightning all the more spectacular.

Russ
www.AlpineGalleria.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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pjr Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2005Sun 19-Jun-11 02:30 AM
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#12. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Manotick, CA
          

Wow - what a fabulous capture!! Well done!

Phil
A Canadian Nikonian
My portfolio: www.pjr99.500px.com

  

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skiroc Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010Sun 19-Jun-11 04:36 AM
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#13. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 12


Redlands, US
          

oh yeah! outstanding!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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olivierrychner Gold Member  Awarded for his long standing high level of commitment to the Nikonians community and demonstrated excellence in the art and science of photography. Nikonian since 03rd Jan 2005Sun 19-Jun-11 08:41 AM
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#14. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


CH
          

Fantastic capture!

I would lighten the corners or the sky a bit, but apart from that, it's a wallhanger!

Olivier Rychner
__________________________________________
Jetez un oeil à ma galerie if you feel like it! And it's a bit void as of now, but I also have a Nikonians blog

Auta i lomë! And my Nikon's only awaiting daylight...

  

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Kadmos Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2006Sun 19-Jun-11 12:39 PM
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#16. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 14


Perth, AU
          

Awesome. Frame it.

John
Perth Nikonian
Western Australia

  

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Slider Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2008Sun 19-Jun-11 04:12 PM
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#17. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Florida, US
          

Neil,

Forget about the missed opportunities, it only takes one and this is awesome! I've been chasing lightning for the last week here in Florida, but every storm has been blanketed in very heavy clouds and all I get is silhouettes. Suffice it to say, everything has ended up on the "cutting room floor". In contrast, this photo is absolutely spectacular. Great job!

George

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 19-Jun-11 05:14 PM
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#18. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Thanks for the additional kind comments

Anyone here had canvas prints done? I'm thinking about a 12x18 canvas (probably using Winkflash unless someone has a better idea). I've never done commercial canvas prints and I'm concerned that the fine detail of the branching lightning might be lost in the rough texture of the canvas?

I think I solved by lower left vignette problem but I worked it up on my rather poor laptop. When I get a chance to see it on my calibrated monitor I'll post it. I just softened the vignette to make it look more natural and better match the lower right corner of the horizon.

IN the meantime I made the mistake of starting to play with alternate crops . So I'm up to my arm pits in various crops.

Here are 3 of them...

Crop1


Crop2


Crop3

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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Kadmos Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2006Mon 20-Jun-11 12:10 AM
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#19. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 18
Mon 20-Jun-11 12:11 AM by Kadmos

Perth, AU
          

I like #2 - largely because I feel much closer to the bolts and the closer view of the houses makes it a bit more scary - "you're next"

John
Perth Nikonian
Western Australia

  

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CK Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2004Mon 20-Jun-11 12:21 AM
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#20. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Mississauga, CA
          

Very cool, indeed!! Well done, sir!
Take care,
CK
Nikonian in Ontario, Canada

  

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DaddySS Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2006Mon 20-Jun-11 08:17 AM
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#21. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 20


Woodcliff Lake, US
          

Beautiful image. From the mechanics side - 30 second exposure?

Richard

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 20-Jun-11 03:32 PM
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#22. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 21


US
          

Thanks for the comment Richard. The exposure was 25s. The exposure does not effect the lightning, only the ambient.

If I had had time to set up my outboard intervalometer I might have done so to get longer exposures, which would just reduce the number of frames. A 60s exposure would probably be more convenient. If I had done that, though, I might have risked overexposing parts of the scene. That is the the tough part of shooting lightning- the amount of added exposure from the bolt is very un-predictable and here was quite strong. That was a big part of the "luck" I mentioned- this strike worked well with the exposure I was using, which prior to the shot I thought was underexposed.

When I saw this shot I reduced exposure one stop because a quick look at the preview screen suggested the sky immediately around the bolt was so bright it might have washed out the bolt- A problem I've had in the past.

The bolt significantly brightened the entire scene. I did a rough calculation that suggested the equivalent guide number of the lightning flash was about 20,000 at ISO 200 . Much better than my SB-800's . (Could be much higher though).

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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DaddySS Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2006Tue 21-Jun-11 12:07 AM
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#25. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 22


Woodcliff Lake, US
          

Thanks. I appreciate the complete reply. Going to try my luck down in the Carribean next week. Only we would hope for thunderstorms when heading to the Carribean.

Richard

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 21-Jun-11 12:35 PM
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#27. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 25


US
          

Nothing like a good storm

Be sure to plan your exit strategy well in advance. You'll want to shoot until the storm passes over you but then you and your gear will get quite wet if you are out in the open. You might want to find some reasonably protected balcony, either your hotel room or some other accessible public place.

Of course, if the cell is distant and isolated it can be done but it's not always obvious that you have that sort of luck.

That is all aside from the basic safety issues...

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 20-Jun-11 03:40 PM
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#23. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 20-Jun-11 03:41 PM by nrothschild

US
          

I decided not to do a stretched canvas of the full image because I would have lost about 1.5" of the bottom of the scene, which I didn't want. I thought about doing one of the crops (I like #2 best too) but decided that the 12x18 might be quite a stretch for such a small crop. I did a preliminary uprez but didn't like the results and wanted to order something today for scheduling reasons. I settled on a 12x18 Giclee poster with a black frame. I might revisit the crops for something like a 10x13 or thereabouts- something a little easier on a tight crop.

This is the image I'm printing. I touched up the lower landscape a bit and softened the lower left corner of the horizon.


_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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htan Silver Member Nikonian since 05th May 2009Mon 20-Jun-11 04:46 PM
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#24. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 23


Ringoes, US
          

Between crops 1, 2, and 3, I liked #2 the best. But overall, I think I'm liking this version where you can see the long trail of lightning.

Cheers,
Hector
Flemington, NJ Nikonian

Hector Tan Photography

My Nikonians gallery

  

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Marjani Moderator expert in ocean scapes and underwater photography Charter MemberTue 21-Jun-11 12:41 AM
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#26. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Cocos (Keeling) Islands, AU
          

Neil, this image is a stunner. I don't think you need words to relay this. Congratulations on a superb capture.

Best Fishes ~ Karen <*((---{

Waving the flag for Nikonians on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and learning every day.

Karens Cocos Reflections gallery

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 21-Jun-11 12:36 PM
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#28. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 26


US
          

Thanks, Karen

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Brian_S Registered since 28th Jan 2011Wed 22-Jun-11 02:21 AM
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#29. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 28


Thunder Bay, CA
          

fan-freaking-tastic capture!! this is one of the best lightning shots i have ever seen, well done Neil!
i love a good thunder/lightning storm and this image enforces why i do

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007Wed 22-Jun-11 05:26 PM
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#30. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
          

Hi Neil.

Thanks for posting your excellent shot and for all the comments on lightning photography. The only canvas print I have had made so far looked great in terms of detail but was very oversaturated. This was of a shot that I also got printed on glossy paper so the oversaturation was obvious.

Again, most impressive shot!

JIM

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 22-Jun-11 05:31 PM
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#31. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 30


US
          

Thanks, Jim. I guess I should get a standard enlargement done for reference when I do my first canvas.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Wed 22-Jun-11 11:44 PM
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#32. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 0


Lowden, US
          

Awesome shot Neil!

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
"My most important photographic investment, after the camera"

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cchoc Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, most notably in Landscape Photography Charter MemberThu 23-Jun-11 08:59 PM
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#33. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
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Marietta, US
          

Amazing shot. Well done Neil.

Charlie...
stalking light

Nikonians Team Member

  

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massulo Gold Member Nikonian since 07th May 2002Sun 26-Jun-11 01:52 PM
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#34. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
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Tampa/Lutz, US
          

Surreal and fabulous- can I borrow some of the bolts-- haha



Preston-(The Tampa Nikonian)..D300


-One does not know what one is missing - until you miss it..



My Website

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 26-Jun-11 04:59 PM
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#36. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 34


US
          

Sure, here ya go


_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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af4nc Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Jul 2007Sun 26-Jun-11 02:08 PM
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#35. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
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Yardley, US
          

Very nice

Tom MILLS
Its all about the light and composition
My best investment is my Nikonians membership.
af4nc@msn.com
www.tommills.zenfolio.com

  

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EAPhoto Registered since 16th Jan 2013Wed 23-Jan-13 07:54 PM
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#37. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 35


Asheboro, US
          

I am new here, searching through the lightning post because I love to shoot lighting and this one caught my eye for sure.

I like the overall/original crop best. Would make a very LARGE wall art.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 23-Jan-13 07:57 PM
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#38. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 37


US
          

Hi Eric,

Welcome to Nikonians and thanks for the kind words

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Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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robb Basic MemberFri 25-Jan-13 11:45 PM
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#39. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
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Central Valley, CA, US
          

Neil.. Fabulous!

Best Regards,
Rob

http://www.robbohningphotography.com
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. -- Psalm 19:1

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Sat 26-Jan-13 01:52 PM
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#40. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
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Vantaa, FI
          

Wow. Great photo, great processing.

> "I usually try to catch some lightning when I'm at the beach in early June."

LOL! Although I love the very bright summer nights of the north, capturing lightning bolts in the summer is very difficult. You simply couldn't have taken that shot here. What I mean is a 25-second exposure. I tried that last summer, at the end of July. But the cumulative light output from the sky over a 30-second exposure far exceeded the brightness of lightning bolts, which were not at all visible in my photos. When I reduced the exposure time to 5 seconds, the bolts could be distinguished against the sky.

Regards, Antero

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 04:58 PM
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#41. "RE: A little lightning tonight"
In response to Reply # 40


US
          

Interesting observation, Antero.

Although you may not be able to reproduce this exact image, which was shot in complete darkness, you can do something that is very difficult for me to do.

I have always believed that the best time to shoot lightning is not in complete darkness but in "deep twilight" when there is enough ambient light to get a different and perhaps better balanced exposure. That is real tough around here because that window lasts only 15 minutes or so, where for you it lasts all night .

Catching a good bolt in that short window can be quite problematic, especially since lightning cannot be scheduled .

This image worked, in full darkness, only because of the sheer power of the strike. In most cases when I have shot lightning from the same vantage point, the general ambient lighting of the foreground is too dark. This image was a stroke of luck and I was fortunate to capture it. It looks more like an image I would expect to shoot inside that brief but magical window.

Thanks to the several members with recent kind words. I guess this image is an "oldie but goodie" now . And I do have a trial 12x18 hanging on the wall of my beach place where I shot it! At some point I want to do a 20x30 and I agree that an even larger image might be interesting.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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