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I love my Canon Ixus 980 IS more and more every time I use it. Whilst the camera itself is great, it really doesn't come into its own until running the free CHDK utility which gives access to all sorts of extra features. One of these is the ability to run scripts and one of the scripts available happens to enable lightning shots.
Please forgive the exposure issues; it was 4am and I had grabbed the camera as the storm woke me and tried to figure out the settings at the same time as trying to pry open my eyes.
Just goes to show what could be possible if I can grab these on the fly.
They are startlingly good!
Given I know nothing about scripts, could you educate me please?
Very nice! The main problem I've always had trying to photograph thunderstorms with my camera is that the electric field messes with the electronics...
In general information technology terms, a script is a file that is generally written in code and understood by whatever device it is run on. A script could be (and usually is) a simple text file or it could be something far more complex.
The instructions in the file tell the device to carry out certain automated instructions; scripts can be cascaded so one script can call another to be executed and so on.
In this case, I run a program on my SD card that gives me an alternative menu system to my camera. It doesn't replace the Canon menu nor does it invalidate the warranty; it is simply an extra and alternative menu. Part of the menu system allows you to load up a pre-written script and then run that script when you press the shutter button. The scripts are written by people with far more programming experience than I but are freely downloadable from the CHDK website at www.chdk.com
As I understand, a lightning strike is always preceeded by a "pre-strike" and the lightning script detects this pre-strike and fires the shutter in time to capture the main strike.
There are scripts to do all sorts of things - one of my favourites is a time-lapse script which I used to capture a sunset - see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJsMQgm1zag
Hope this helps. If not, let me know and I'll try and elaborate with my limited knowledge. I seem to recall that you use a Canon, Red; take a look at CHDK and see if there is a script for your model.
Nice photos, 10 out of 10 for getting up at silly o clock to risk your life, standing outside, in the open to take these shots. Well done
LOL! Whilst I'd like to take credit for those actions bramble, the reality is that they were taken from my bedroom window, in the dry and at no risk to myself as I was lying in bed with the camera on a small tripod. It was hosing down outside - I wasn't going out in that!!!
Perhaps there is a call for a moot course - "Taking interesting shots in the early hours without leaving your hammock".
Thats really helpful - thanks - I ahve also been chatting to two colleagues (both serious photographers) and we have figured some ways to do this (we hope) involving long exposures and high f stops :)
Roll on the next thunderstorm - thanks for the inspiration!
That was great, I saw the building over the road struck once.
Lucky it had a conductor
Wow, they're really good! Great cap.
How to do it old school:
Tripod, SLR with remote shutter operation.
Stick the camera on a tripod pointed in the general direction of the strikes. Set aperture to highest f stop (eg, f/22)
Set or load Iso 100 or less.
After final rumble of thunder, open shutter and keep open until just after the next strike.
9 times out of 10 the image is poorly exposed, but just keep ripping film (taking lots of pics) and you'll get the shot :)
We don't have many thunderstorms here, which is a shame.
They are great and I'm loving the tech.
Many, many years ago I wired a flash slave cell to a motor drive to catch lightning - it kinda worked :)
Hope the lad's enjoying the bergan!
fab fotos mark hat to have alook again once you mentioned them at the moot cheers drew
Great photos. Still wishing it would thunderstorm here - it's been close for days now.
We had a storm a couple of weeks ago and i took the canon 40D out into the sunroom which has a huge picture window that swivels open. I took about 150 shots of 15 second exposures and got 7 good shots of which these two are the best
Just come to Kansas in the spring and you will get your fill of thunderstorms. Around here, tornadoes are just another means of transportation.