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Lightning Strikes Twice

Any photographer can tell you that getting a photo of lightning requires patience and some luck. If you follow this site, you know I have managed to get lightning once. That was some time ago and there was that other case of completely disappointing results from my attempts to capture it again. Well, this time I was out looking to figure out what settings to use for night pinhole photography.

I was trying to get a focus on a large paddle wheel ship like the one I rode as a kid on the Detroit River going to Boblo Island, a theme park south of Detroit. My first shot didn't really get me much of anything, but mind you, I was under the shelter of the roof at the Marina South Pier because a storm had just passed through and I was determined to keep my camera from getting wet. So with the light drizzle, I was looking to make the most of the situation as I attempt to learn about this pinhole lens. Here was my disappointing first shot:

pinhole photography night shot

So I adjusted the shutter speed and tried again. Then it happened! A large strike of lightning off in the distance that surely must be in the field of view of the camera. I start dancing around in glee, then realise I had to dance farther from the tripod since it's on a wooden deck, so as not to jostle the camera that was still happily going through its motions. So I toned it down a bit and waited for the results. Now I'm not claiming that this is some spectacular shot by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, I got it!
pinhole photography lightning

Now we know the odds of actually getting lightning are slim, so to try again immediately after one is just wishing for the best but not really expecting much. Until it really happened. A second strike! Normally for me this would have happened after the shutter had closed and the camera was writing to card, but no, it actually honest-to-god happened with my shutter still open! I was utterly amazed and felt very blessed indeed.

pinhole photography lightning

Now, these were straight from camera without any attempt to tone down the noise in the shots, and in fact I'm really not sure how I would process it. What I wanted to show was what I got and ask if anyone has suggestions of what setting I might have used to have improved the quality given I was using a pinhole lens.

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