• Stormtrack's forum runs on Xenforo forum software, which will be undergoing a major update the evening of Wednesday, Feb 28th. The site may be down for a period while that update takes place.

Sprites, Elves, photos anyone?

I was curious if anyone here has captured photos or video of sprites or elves? Usually while chasing it would seem we’d be to close since you’d want it to be on the horizon. If you had, any tips at capturing them? Ligtning can be some of the most mesmerizing phenomenon of weather, and this is a part of that phenomenon that I have still yet to clearly see.
Can they be caught on regular film? I heard that you needed ultra sensitive CCD camera to catch them! Maybe with the Night Mode on some video cameras it would be possible?
I am wondering about this too. One would think with those big MCS storms at the end of many chase days, and many chasers around, sprites would not go unnoticed. But, most people interested in sprites have a strong interest in lightning in general, I guess.... and may start lightning photography after the tornado phase is over. Then you're actually too close to observe sprites.

To record sprites, I am not sure most camcorders would be sufficiently sensitive. Low-light b/w surveillance cams (Sony ExView 1/3 or 1/2 inch CCDs) with bright aperture lenses (<f/1.0) are normally used to record them, in the scientific pursuit. The people who use this type of camera are often advanced amateur astronomists, who want to capture meteor showers or deep sky objects through their telescope.
It might also be worth trying a DSLR at highest sensitivity, use great optics (not a zoom but a f/1.4 standard or telephoto lens for example), and being patient.

Have a look at www.eurosprite.net and check our latest results if you are interested :)
I am very curious if anyone has seen/recorded them somewhere, so please let me know if you have!


I almost got the sprite.

Actually, Oscar is right for the most part. Storm chasers and lightning photographers are not very good candidates for getting good sprite photographs. You have to be somewhere in the range of 100-200 miles away from the storm and have special (very expensive) equipment to have a chance of getting a good photograph. I am no expert on the subject though but that's just what I have heard.

I was just curious because maybe when we aren't chasing we might be trying to get some of these lightning events. Since I think a few of us here are hopefully also generally interested in weather. Since sensitivity is a concern, I guess I will have to try at capturing some later with 3200 ISO B/W film.