Long Exposure Time Lapse Video - Arizona Monsoon Lightning - Creative Uses of CHDK - CHDK Forum

Long Exposure Time Lapse Video - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

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Long Exposure Time Lapse Video - Arizona Monsoon Lightning
« on: 18 / January / 2009, 20:51:15 »
I see a lot of cool lightning photos and much lightning discussion here, but no video.
I thought I'd share the following technique I was experimenting with a few years ago.


Other (some chdk) vids - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tradica/sets/72157605522818054/

  • 1. Put camera on tripod
  • 2. Point camera at brewing storm
  • 3. Expose for four seconds and save image
  • 4. Repeat step 3 until memory card is full
  • 5. Transfer images into computer
  • 6. Isolate all images that contain lightning
  • 7. Assemble those images into a video

  • The video plays twice. The second time is in reverse.
  • The process is easily portable to CHDK.
  • Created in 2003 with images manually captured on a Sony DSC-S85
  • I manually pressed the button on the remote to capture each of the photos.
  • I didn't have an intervalometer or any scriptable interface to the camera, I had to do it myself.
  • It wasn't as tedious as you would imagine.
  • I'd listen for the clicks of the camera and know when to press the button.
  • I was mesmerized by the light show in the clouds - the procedure became autonomous
  • The constant lightning made is easy to become lost in thought
  • I pondered the minimal differences between lightning photography and fishing.
  • If you like lightning photography, central Arizona is the best place to be in late summer.
  • The clouds were at least 40 miles east of me.
  • I heard no thunder.
  • I shot a few test images to calibrate.
  • Eight second exposures were too bright - four seemed to work.
  • The lightning was almost constant.
  • Very few images were not used.
  • If you watch closely you can see stars moving

  • Airports - the animated trails of multiple airplanes would look spectacular
  • Boats
  • Freeways
  • Carnivals
  • Fireflies - probably have to pump iso levels up
  • Any intermittent self illuminating kinetic thing

My Canon SD800-IS broke last July so I had no camera to capture the lightning this year.  :/ 
Hopefully I'll have a new one by next summer.
Thanks for reading and if you try something like this or have done something similar I'd enjoy seeing it.

« Last Edit: 28 / January / 2009, 21:08:29 by tradica »


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