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04-29-2012, 10:24 AM   #1
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Weatherman wants to take pictures of lightning.

Hi all,

I am a retired weatherman in need of advice. I am age 74 with little photographic experience. I learned that it is preferable to use a shutter release cable when taking lightning pictures so that the camera doesn't move. I have a barely used Pentax K2000D, but I just learned that I cannot connect a cable to this camera.

I saw a post somewhere that the Pentax K20D does have a cable connection ability. But that camera has been replaced by the K-7. I am sure that there are other cameras that would fit my needs. The K-7 appeals to me because it is waterproof, & that would be helpful in a thunderstorm!

So, it appears that I will have to sell my K2000D, & replace it with a more suitable camera. Any suggestions on the best way to sell the K2000D, & importantly, which Pentax camera can best fulfill my needs would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Bernie

04-29-2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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I too, have been fascinated with lightning photography, but i have done very little. Hopefully I can point you toward some resources I consulted myself. I personally suggest that you start with some of the simplest techniques, because they involve the least possible amount of expensive equipment. The following link is a how to involving only a lockable remote shutter release, I have have some modest success with more or less the same procedure.

Photography techniques: How to photograph lightning

I am presuming that the K2000d has the input port to connect a remote shutter. If I am wrong on this (I have never personally handled one), I am sure someone will quickly chime in to point out my error (the beauty of the forums).

Some more sophisticated methods of lightning photography involve using a photosensitive device to quickly trigger the camera. There are many different devices on the market to do this ranging widely in price. The following link provides information about capturing lightning using a device called the camera axe. It is actually a device intended to utilize various different sensors to trigger cameras and flashes for many different types of photography. From my limited research, it looks to be the most flexible and economical method of doing such things. Regardless, it's good fun seeing some of the wild shots people have managed.

TPB #1 – Lightning Photography » Tech Photo Blog

Anyway, I hope I have helped lead in the right direction. If nothing else, I hope it provides some interesting reading. I haven't addressed your questions regarding upgrading your camera in order to do this because I personally don't think you really need to in order to get started on this adventure. Most importantly, have fun.

04-29-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by cloudoc Quote
Hi all,

I am a retired weatherman in need of advice.
The K-2000 should be fine for your requirements, if you can live with an IR remote and not work in the rain.

You can use an Infra Red remote release with the K-2000, but not a wired cable remote release. I think the IR sensor is on the front of camera body, so not idea for your requirement, but it can certainly work by holding remote in front and to side of camera. (You could also bounce it off a small mirror from behind the camera.)

The K-200, K-10, K-20, K-7 and K-5 all have cable release sockets, while the K-2000, K-x don't. Not sure on the K-r.

Note K-10, K-200, K-20, K-7 and K-5 are all weather resistant, (but not waterproof). So use with some restraint. But in general all very good in this department. K-10 or K-200 would be cheapest, while K-5 is latest all singing and dancing model.

Hope this helps.
04-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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Thanks very much! Bernie

04-29-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
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Appreciate your detailed information. Bernie
04-29-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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You don't need cable release / remote control, you can use the camera 2 sec timer and spam away if there's a lot of lighthing happening. That said, it helps if you have one.

You can also do away with your K200D. For lighthing you'll be shooting at ISO 100, and your camera has more than adequate quality at that range (I would say even more than the newer models since it still uses a CCD).

The rest is luck.

Raios em São Paulo 5 por hcarvalhoalves, no Flickr

Raios em São Paulo 1 por hcarvalhoalves, no Flickr
05-01-2012, 09:38 AM   #7
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Those are some very nice shots.
05-01-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Bernie- not sure how much you've looked into lightning photography yet, but there are triggers you can attach to your camera to operate the shutter when it senses the lightning. Just do an internet search for lightning trigger and you'll get plenty of reading to figure out what works for you. I don't have one yet, but it is on the acquisition list.

05-01-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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You can still use your K2000/Km with the IR remote as someone mentioned, you'll also need a steady tripod.

A clear plastic baggie is your water proofing if you intend in standing the setup in the field but as you know don't be near it in the open field
whatever remote you get just make sure of it's reach and it still needs line-of sight as it's IR not radio activated....which brings up another activated transiever/receivers...a little more expensive but you won't need to depend on line of sight and IF you do decide you're going to setup in an open field...well you're somewhat safer in your vehicle

...and welcome to the forums

Last edited by Clicker; 05-01-2012 at 12:54 PM.

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