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Electric Tower by Gynormus-Cranius Electric Tower by Gynormus-Cranius
Toronto, ON, Canada. August 24th 2011.

Huge thunderstorm during the night.

Raiden visits Toronto ...

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Due to popular demand, a more detailed description of the shoot:

August 24th, 2011. Weather network says the mother of all thunderstorms is coming to Toronto, with a chance of Tornado. Awesome. I cleaned my lenses, format memory card, checked batteries, and waited.

Lightning photography 101: Treat lightning as flash. Adjusting shutter speed will have little impact. The lightning will just dump a load of light onto the sensor no matter how fast you have it. The key here is to lengthen the shutter speed to 30+ seconds or bulb, adjust the ISO and aperture to make a proper exposure for ambient light (decrease ISO and boost f number). Any lightning that hits during the long exposure will be captured.

I live near the top of a 40+ level condo, which meant I had a great view of the tower, as well as the Yorkville area to the north. When the storm hit, I setup my D90 on my patio on a good CF tripod, with a 18-105 VR zoom lens (basic kit lens) at 18 mm, f22, ISO 100, 30 second exposures. I connected a remote shutter cord, and held the button down. This basically lets the camera shoot 30 second exposures automatically, eventually I had this shot.

[link]

However, there was a problem. It takes another 30 seconds of processing to generate the RAW file in camera, which meant that I had 30 seconds of exposure, followed by 30 seconds of non-exposure processing time. I was losing 50% of all the shots! So then I grabbed my handy LX5, manual mode, ISO 80, shutter = 30 seconds, f 8.0, zoomed all the way out, manual focus to infinity. I put that on a gorilla pod, which was then wrapped to another tripod (I needed the extra height to get over the patio railings). I staggered the shots so that when the D90 was processing, the LX5 was shooting. Unfortunately, the LX5 didn't have an auto-shoot mode, so I had to click the shutter every 60 seconds (30 exposure + 30 sec processing).

[Footnote] I realized the 30 second processing time in my DSLR was because I turned in-camera long-exp noise reduction feature on. So for future shots, please turn in-camera NR off.

Now I had another problem, my two cameras were facing north, towards Yorkville area, but to the south was the CN tower which I wanted to shoot. So I decided to split my camera setup, LX5 towards the CN tower, D90 towards Yorkville. This meant I was losing 50% of the shots, which meant risking not getting any pictures. However, I gained two angles, which means I have a chance to get two lightning pictures in different scenes.

My CN tower view was out of my bedroom window, which was covered by rain drops. I originally thought about moving to one of my neighbor's patios, which had an unobstructed view (no glass) of the CN tower. However, I realized the rain drops added to the atmosphere of the shot. It was risky as I wasn't sure how the lightning light would interact with the rain drops. Decided to stick with it, loaded the LX5 onto a gorilla pod and taped it to my window. Recall LX5 has no autoshoot, so I clicked the shutter every 60 seconds ... for about 3 hours. I got this shot about halfway through. I missed some hits, but this was by far the most epic, which I caught (50% chance). I wish I had 3 more DSLRs with me, so I can stagger shoot both views.

Lesson learned. Be prepared, and you'll be rewarded.

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WOOT! MY FIRST DD! Thank you all!

I've been trying to get a shot like this for ages. I love the Toronto skyline, but it's been shot to oblivion. There are countless variations already, each almost done to perfection. The next challenge for me was to capture the skyline in cool weather conditions. I imagined it to be pre- or post- thunderstorm, with the rolling clouds moving in/out during sunrise/sunset (nice golden sidelight). Never knew I'd take the first shot *during* a storm.

I still think the rolling clouds concept is still worthwhile to pursue, but the timing has to be perfect. The storm has to come in right during sunset or sunrise. And you'll probably get drenched during the shoot ...

[Foodnote:] Interesting thing I noticed ... if you look closely at the major branches, you can see smaller, less visible branches close by but almost identical in shape. I realized this was an effect of my window, which has two layers of glass. The smaller branches were reflections of the light coming in, then bouncing on the inner glass, then on the outer glass, then to the camera. This explains the identical shape, and why it's off position from the major branches. It'd be cool to utilize this effect in future shoots.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-08-30
Suggester says; Electric Tower by ~Gynormus-Cranius is the gobsmacking culmination of hard work and luck. Shots of urban thunderstorms are 5 cents a dozen, but this one is truly unique. The way the lightning dominates the frame is electrifying (pardon the pun), while the raindrops in the foreground lend the photo a bleak nature which complements the frenzied energy of the lightning. ( Suggested by donnymurph and Featured by kinipelahh )
:iconsalt--water:
SALT--WATER Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
....Zap.....
Reply
:iconsillyunited:
SillyUnited Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Student General Artist
Wow :D This is amazing! I live a couple hours away from Toronto, and once I was visiting my uncle. We were walking downtown near the CN Tower, then t started to rain. We ran for coverage as it started to thunder. I remember looking up, and seeing the lightning strike the CN Tower. You only ever get to see it a few times in your life. It was breath-taking... and this picture reminds me so much of that time!
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you. Yeah that storm was intense. The lightning was hitting the CN tower every few seconds, and the clouds were high enough that they didn't cover the tower.
Reply
:iconsillyunited:
SillyUnited Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Student General Artist
You're welcome~ Wow, must've been amazing!
Reply
:icondimensionten:
dimensionten Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
EPIC. And it's my favorite city!
Reply
:iconannabelle-chabert:
Annabelle-Chabert Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012   Photographer
That's really an incredible shot :faint:
Reply
:iconaugenweide:
augenweide Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
your beautiful work is featured in my new journal...[link]
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Woot! Thank you! Really appreciate it!
Reply
:iconaugenweide:
augenweide Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
welcome Frank...
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:iconslipons:
slipons Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
nice shot i like this awesome man !!!
Reply
:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
I love this shot! And the lightning photography tip makes so much sense. I'm going to have to get a fancy camera and try something like that for my jewelry photos someday.
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you! You got some amazing jewelry photos! Did you make them yourself???

I took this shot with my Panasonic LX5, which is not that fancy at all. You can do these type of shots as long as the camera gives you manual control.

Regardless, I'd love to see some lightning-jewelry shots, maybe even a lightning themed necklace.
Reply
:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Yes, all the jewelry is my work. Photos and short stories are side hobbies of mine, so I like to include them when I can.

Lightning necklace already done! [link]

Wow, that's blurry. I'll have to touch it up....
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Cool!
Reply
:iconbibarry:
bibarry Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Your art has been featured here: [link]
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Woot! Thank you!
Reply
:iconbibarry:
bibarry Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
You are really welcome!
Reply
:iconjessicawong:
JessicaWong Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2011  Student
[link] featured :)
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Woot! Much thanks! Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconjessicawong:
JessicaWong Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2011  Student
:D
and thank you :D
Reply
:iconliawuzhere:
Liawuzhere Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011
Amazing! Great job!
Reply
:iconngannguyen06:
ngannguyen06 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011
:)
Reply
:iconthemudkipdoctor:
TheMudkipDoctor Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Oh shocking... (pardon the lame pun, I use it all the time)
That's a really good shot you took there, good job!
Reply
:iconmrodriqez:
Mrodriqez Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011
nice!
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:iconchubbychic24:
chubbychic24 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011
Wow! Nice timing~ perfect!
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you. I took almost 200 shots to get this image.
Reply
:icondonnylambgod:
DonnyLambgod Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Love this photo you must have some awesome timing.
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you! Well, I wouldn't say I have good timing per se. I took about 180 images during a 3 hr period. And this was one of five that was workable. Not a very good turnover rate, lol.

I don't think anyone can time lightning down to the minute, so the only option is to lengthen the time/number of exposures.
Reply
:icondonnylambgod:
DonnyLambgod Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I'll remember that if I ever try to take a picture of lighting. I'm serious if you hadn't said that I probly would of tryed to time it lol.
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Haha, that would've been a painful and disappointing shoot.

Long exposure is the way to go. If you have a remote shutter, or something that can hold the button down, then it's even easier. You composure the image, then just let it shoot.

There are certain patterns to lightning, which follow electric potential principles. For example, if you see lightning hit at one spot, chances are that it won't hit in the same area for some time. This is because it'll take a while for the charge to build up again. And you're better off composing a different angle. However, if you have a tower or something which attracts lightning, it might be worthwhile to keep shooting that.
Reply
:icongruummm:
gruummm Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Únorme!!!!
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Merci!
Reply
:iconbioxerxex:
BioXerxeX Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUPER!!!
Reply
:iconidealkai:
idealkai Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011
awesome!!
Reply
:iconzephyrus0:
zephyrus0 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
very amazing reminds me of the owl movie guardians of gahol
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Haha. Thank you! That's one of my sister's favourite movie ...
Reply
:iconzephyrus0:
zephyrus0 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
totally gorgeous
Reply
:iconthejeremieproject:
TheJeremieProject Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Student Photographer
I love Lightning its just so amazing.
Reply
:iconthejeremieproject:
TheJeremieProject Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Student Photographer
i love Lightning its so awsome
Reply
:iconthejeremieproject:
TheJeremieProject Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Student Photographer
amazin i love Lightning
Reply
:iconnspencerj:
nspencerj Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
great :D
Reply
:icon1996hamster:
1996hamster Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011
very very very very very very awesome. spectacular. amazing. beautiful. love it:) favorited.
Reply
:icongynormus-cranius:
Gynormus-Cranius Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks!
Reply
:icon1996hamster:
1996hamster Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
no problem!
Reply
:iconlibanyusuf:
LibanYusuf Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011
amazing
Reply
:iconeinfallspinsel:
Einfallspinsel Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
Crazy shot :)
Reply
:iconvincent-von-gore:
Vincent-von-gore Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Lol, remember that storm, zapped my neighbours chimney off
Reply
:iconpotassiumk:
PotassiumK Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this is beautiful! Absolutely stunning.
Reply
:iconmeihua:
meihua Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011
EPIC, and I love the detailed description! Very informative!
Reply
:iconkokushibyu:
Kokushibyu Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011   Traditional Artist
That is a stunning shot
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Details

Submitted on
August 25, 2011
Image Size
475 KB
Resolution
450×900
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
18,981
Favourites
1,567 (who?)
Comments
253

Camera Data

Make
Panasonic
Model
DMC-LX5
Shutter Speed
30/1 second
Aperture
F/8.0
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
80
Date Taken
Aug 24, 2010, 11:34:48 PM
Software
Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer 6.1.7600.16385
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