Arduino triggered lightning photography

- Arduino
- a simple photodiode
- a cheap shutter release remote cord from Ebay to get a plug for the Nikon D90 remote port (2.60$)
- a major thunderstorm after sunset

- DSLR set to manual 1s exposure time, diaphragm wide open , ISO low
- Arduino waits for light flash detected by phototransistor
- On the detected light flash the port connected to the remote cord goes LOW
- Shutter opens after 69 ms (that is the Nikon D90 shutter lag)
- since lightning is not an instantaneous event you still catch the final discharge and/or afterglow

2 Responses to “Arduino triggered lightning photography”

  1. Nice post, and shot! I like the idea of sourcing a cheap cable to get the connector and cord.

    Here’s a tip for shutter lag… use Mirror Lock-up mode (M-UP) if your camera supports it. This moves all the mechanical elements out of the way ahead of time, leaving only the shutter to open – it’ll reduce your shutter lag from 50+ milliseconds down to around 4.

    Drawbacks… you’ll have to pre-trigger each shutter release. And the pre-trigger will timeout afar 30 seconds and auto-fire the shutter.


  2. admin says:

    My Nikon D-90 unfortunately (like most modern DSLR’s) does not have mirror lock-up. Instead it has a feature that locks the mirror up for a fixed 2 seconds and then takes the picture. This reduces mirror vibrations affecting resolution by vibration, but does not reduce shutter lag…

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