Storm Photography

I hope this post will be okay here. I wasn't sure where else to put it.

I have a new Cannon Rebel XT, and I'm taking a photography class to learn more about it.
What settings do you guys like to use to shoot late afternoon, evening and night storms? (ISO, F-stops, etc...)
Can you offer any other tips?

Thanks!
 
I hope this post will be okay here. I wasn't sure where else to put it.

I have a new Cannon Rebel XT, and I'm taking a photography class to learn more about it.
What settings do you guys like to use to shoot late afternoon, evening and night storms? (ISO, F-stops, etc...)
Can you offer any other tips?

Thanks!
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I'm sure there are much better folks who can answer this, but I'll give you my 2 cents...

ISO --> Usually set at the lowest that you can for the given amount of light. Older cameras really saw an increase in noise (particularly in the dark/black areas) as ISO increased above 200... With newer dSLRs, you can easily go to 400 and 800 before seeing much noise. In the end, try to keep it at 400 or lower... Obviously, as the sun approaches the horizon, you'll have to punt it up to 800 and 1600, but noise becomes noticeable usually (esp at 1600 and 3200). Eventually, light will really become an issue and you'll have to tripod anyway.

For landscape and wx photography, you're typically focusing near infinity (you don't 't really want to focus to infinity, but we're usually talking miles), so the depth of field will be relatively large any way. I've found that availability of light can factor the F-stop choice more than other things... On the whole, I tend to do F/8-F/11, to maintain sharpness at all depths. In the end, especially under dark cloud bases, I have to bring it up to F/3.2 or F/2.8 for lighting situations. Most lenses are NOT at their sharpest near their widest apertures, so just something to keep in mind.

As light becomes a real issue, I change to shutter priority (from aperture priority) to make sure that I'm shooting at speeds that won't look blurry when hand-held (IIRC, the rule of thumb is that the slowest shutter speed most people can use handheld w/o inducing motion blur is 1/(focal length)), which becomes more of an issue as light wanes. I haven't done a lot of lightning shooting, but it seems that many folks use f/8 for close lightning (where lightning is bright) and nearer f/4.5 for distant lightning (where you want to take in as much as you can while maintaining sharpness).
 
On the whole, I tend to do F/8-F/11, to maintain sharpness at all depths. In the end, especially under dark cloud bases, I have to bring it up to F/3.2 or F/2.8 for lighting situations. Most lenses are at their sharpest near their widest apertures, so just something to keep in mind.
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Heya -- this may have been a typo, but I had to correct -- most lenses are not at their sharpest at their widest aperatures. Most lenses are at optimal performance somewhere between F/8 and F/11. Really good lenses lose very little quality at their widest aperatures. All lenses become uniformly bad when stopped way down (f/16 and beyond) because of diffraction.
 
Heya -- this may have been a typo, but I had to correct -- most lenses are not at their sharpest at their widest aperatures. Most lenses are at optimal performance somewhere between F/8 and F/11. Really good lenses lose very little quality at their widest aperatures. All lenses become uniformly bad when stopped way down (f/16 and beyond) because of diffraction.
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LOL Yes, that was a typo. I did mean to say that most lenses are NOT at their sharpest at their most open aperture... I've fixed it now. Thanks!
 
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