Sunday, August 10, 2008

Long exposure shots

While visiting my family in Michigan last week, I was walking into my parent's house from the car. I happened to glance up and was amazed by how well I could see the stars. After living in a city for 9 years, I forgot how clear the skies can be when there aren't any city lights to hinder them. So i grabbed my camera and tripod and took these shots. These were all 30 second exposures.

The next night (and last night before I left), I thought I'd go out and try again. I was disappointed to find that it turned into a cloudy night. But a little later, I started hearing thunder. So I took the camera and tripod out onto the front porch and captured the shots below. This is my first time photographing lightning.

For those curious about my methods, I set the aperture to f/22 to make sure I could keep the lens open for a long time without allowing too much light in. Then I set the camera to bulb mode (where the lens stays open as long as I am holding the shutter release down). Then I just held the shutter down when I heard thunder and waited for the lightning. These all ended up being about 10 - 15 seconds each. Any more than that, and it would become too overexposed. If after 15 seconds there was no lightning, I would simply let go of the shutter, and immediately press it again, so I didn't miss anything.


Mike Slager said...

Zoet, these shots are awesome! Wish I had your talent and camera when Kel and I were up in the U.P.!

chuck said...


great photos!! in regard to hearing the thunder and then holding the shutter for the lighting, sound travels slower than light so the thunder that you hear is for the lighting that already happened!!

love your work!!