Use CHDK As A Definite Lightning Rod For Your Pictures

May 8, 2011

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Use CHDK As A Definite Lightning Rod For Your Pictures

May 8, 2011

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Lightning in Sant FeliuA little while back we introduced an electric DIY which was designed to help reduce the luck factor when going on a stormy night to photograph lighting. It involved quite a bit of hardware and was aimed towards DSLRs that have an external trigger jack.

Turns out there is an easier way for most Canon P&S owners. It is called CHDK. We discussed CHDK before when we showed how to make Hi Res time lapse movies. This time CHDK comes to the rescue with a lighting catching script.

Well, actually a motion detection script, but it will do for our use.

The idea is geekily simple (yes, I can say that, I used to write code for living):

  1. The change of light caused by lightning is somewhat similar to the change caused by a moving object.
  2. Lightnings have a non zero duration and they linger for a while. (Well… a short while anyway).

Those two facts combined with a fast motions detection script can catch lightnings very well.

Lightning 1

The last thing to discuss is how can the camera shoot that fast. Well, this is the smart part – the script makes half a press on the shutter release “button” (or actually its software equivalent), so from detecting a lightning to doing an exposure there is actually very little delay.

RelampaGIF

Pictures in this post are courtesy of Guy Rimmer, spreketek and BY-YOUR-⌘

Download the FMD (Fast Motion Detection) script for CHDK on the CHDK forums.

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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