First Lightning Storm Shots 2011 with Sigma DP1 in Indiana:
Today we went on a family trip to the Wolf Park, near Battle Ground, Indiana to let the kids howl with the wolves. Unfortunately, we could not make it to the Watermelon Party but instead we decided to attend a Howl Night.
The Wolf Park is a great place to take the kids; they can have fun and learn about nature and the wolves. Here is a great article about the Wolf Park from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Just as the Howl Night was beginning thunder started to roll in and a nice summer storm was forming. Luckily, I brought my Sigma DP1 but I did not bring any kind of tripod. Fortunately I found a 4×4 fence post that I could re-purpose as a tripod.
To make sure to get sharp photos I set the Sigma DP1 to Self Timer to 2 Seconds which should be plenty of time to press the shutter and let go of the camera once it is propped up.
Setting the bracketing mode to “Auto Bracketing +- 0.3″ is also helpful since you only have to press the shutter every 3rd exposure (which is nice once you are in the 15 second exposure territory). The only painful thing is having to watch the lightning when the DP1 is writing the files – It feels like eternity. The difference in exposure of 0.3 EV up or down can easily be corrected in post processing – no big deal.
As you can see lightning shots at daylight are possible without a lightning trigger. You just have to take a hell of a lot of exposures to catch one… ISO 50 at F/11 will give you about a 2 second window.
Next time I will make sure to remember to bring a ND filter to slow things down while the sun is still above the horizon…
I have to say, that in this particular case I really like the feel of ISO 50 at F/11 processed in Sigma Photo Pro 4.1. ISO 50 may cause to loose some highlight details, however ISO 50 gives the image great tonalities and the Foveon 3D Look.
Battle Ground, Indiana is about 50 miles NW of where we are staying and just as Howl Night ended the Thunderstorm unleashed and followed us home to Zionsville. On the way home, of course, we had to stop for a potty break and I found an opportunity to take another shot, this time I rested the Sigma DP1 on a big electrical box and used the key chain of the rental car to prop the camera up to get a little more upward angle. At this point I dialed the ISO up to 100.
Finally, as I was starting to write this post, the storm caught up with us again and I had to take a break to step outside to take a couple of shots. This time the neighbors mailbox made due as a tripod…
I was all worried about missing out on some monsoon storms at home in Arizona, however Photo-Fortuna and the Wolves have been very nice to me.
Now that I caught a little dose of “Storm Chasing” I cannot wait to get back for the Arizona Monsoon Season.
I processed these images on my 6 year old Toshiba Portege with Sigma PhotoPro 4.1 and have no clue how the colors will come out on your end.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that you should check out the Flickr Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Indiana Group.