Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Striking

MPD Dispatch Tower from Fort Stevens

About a week ago, we had a storm system move through that included some pretty spectacular lightning and a couple of scary tornados. I've always wanted to photograph lightning, so when last night's storm rolled through, I got in the car, drove over to Fort Stevens, parked, set the camera on the dashboard, and started taking timed exposures.

Lightning in black and white

Out of 38 timed shots, these are the two best. About four more photos have a hint of lightning in them and the rest have none at all. I've obviously got a long way to go in figuring out how to properly photograph this natural phenomenon!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 6/08

21 comments:

marlow said...

great shot, it looks like the movie "back to the future" a little bit

Jim said...

awesome catch. I have tried to catch the bolt, but usually only get the flash.

Steve Buser said...

I had a friend who used to do a lot of lighting shots, because his apartment looked out over the lake and he could capture storms coming across. His technique (in the old days of film) was to open the shutter with a remote trigger and leave it open until he saw a flash and then close it. He had a spectacular collection. But I don't think he had anything better than your wonderful shots here. Stay safe.

Cowbark said...

Great job! I've always been too intimidated to try capturing lightning. I was just reading somewhere an article that had tips for how to get great lightning shots, but I can't seem to find it now. I'll drop you another comment if I ever do!

Rambling Round said...

A very striking photo!

D.C. Confidential said...

Welcome to everyone who's made there way here via City Photo Daily's blog portal. It's great to be part of the CPDB community. Thanks for stopping by!

Marlow: Thanks! And you're right. It does.

Jim: Yeah, mostly I only caught the flash. I varied by time settings between 5 and 15 seconds. I think these two are the latter setting.

Steve: Your friend's technique sounds about right. This digital stuff seems a bit trickier, though, especially when your camera (as is my case) only allows 15 sec. timed exposures. Still, it's been fun to try and I'll get this down. Now I just need to find a safe place to shoot where rain falling on the windshield isn't a factor!

Cowbark: Thanks! Any information you can pass along would be hugely appreciated! As for getting photos like this, I think it's mostly dumb luck. At least, for me anyway.

Rambling Round: Thanks!

The D in D & T said...

impressive effort - these are great! I particularly like the black and white one.

ptowngirl said...

Those are excellent lightning photos! I think I will need a better camera to even begin to get great photos like these.

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog, and yes, I do cover all 8 cities! :-)

ptowngirl
HamptonRoadsDailyPhoto.com

D.C. Confidential said...

the d in d&t: Thanks!

ptowngirl: Wow. I'm totally impressed. I can barely cover one city! As for photos like these, if you can set timed exposures on your camera, you should be able to get pictures like these.

Hilda said...

Awesome!!!

D.C. Confidential said...

Hilda: Thanks!

marley said...

It may have been a trial effort but the results are amazing, the first photo especially. We rarely get big storms here but I'd love to photograph some lightening.

Bill said...

Cool shots. I got into a good storm last year, and a shot from that one ended up as my favorite of the year, posted on 1/1/08. I have found that a good storm, a good tripod, and 30 second exposures work well :)

Spent 3 years living in Fairfax prior to moving to Delta. It is fun to see what is up back east.

USelaine said...

Yay! You're on the board! You've been a secret too long. 8^) And right off the bat, you raise the photographic bar for the rest of us. Great to have you here.

Arlene said...

Wow - really cool! These are my favorite shots on your blog. What is it about lightning that is so mesmerizing?

mirage2g said...

Those are quiet dangerous I presume....

Janet, I only saw today that you are listed at CDP! (What took you so long btw?)

Sorry I wasn't able to drop by much =( Now I woke up early and bloghopped about hihi.

Now be careful there, see you around!

D.C. Confidential said...

Marley: Come on over. We get storms like this fairly often during the summer. They're quite spectacular! And the thunder. Oh, the thunder! That's the best part. Because there's nothing to stop it, like mountains or skyscrapers, it rolls on and on and on. It's great!

Bill: Delta, Colorado, is a beautiful part of the country. My folks live out in Fairfax. Anywhere in particular you'd like to recommend for a memory? I'm out there a couple of times a month and would be happy to feature a picture or two by request!

USElaine: Thank you! I'm excited to be part of CDPB.

Arlene: You're right, lightning is mesmerizing! I could have stayed out even later taking pictures. Glad you liked these!

Mirage: I'm a slow joiner. LOL! As for shooting lightning, I tried to be prudent. I shot these pictures from inside the safety of my Honda CR-V.

Maya said...

Well these turned out great! See? Just take lots of shots and hope you get a good one... :-)

But, still, you had the drive to actually go somewhere and work at it too. Luck = preparedness + opportunity

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: You crack me up! I concede. Uncle!

As for your equation, I just realized and can't believe I wasted gas to take these pictures. Hello?! There's a good use of $4.29/gal. Although, I made up for it yesterday by walking to the bank rather than driving, so it's all good, right?

American Fork said...

Amazing photos. These are my favorite photos I have seen today, absolutely brilliant.

D.C. Confidential said...

American Fork: Wow! Thanks! I really appreciate the compliment. I've had a really good response to these pictures and can't wait for the next storm so I can take more.