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June 6, 2008 9:47 PM   Subscribe

What do you suppose caused this effect?

I was taking time exposures during a storm tonight, trying to get some lightning shots, and this very weird effect appeared in exactly one frame out of perhaps 200. I was thinking it might be distant lightning behind the clouds, but notice the red color sort of seems to obscure part of the eaves of the yellow house across the street. Salient data: I was shooting in an easterly direction from inside my garage (away from the city and all the horrible orange streetlights- I live on the very edge of the city) into a basically dark section of sky. The garage lights were out. Other shots where the clouds were lit internally by lightning showed a more normal purplish-blue color. The color has not been enhanced in any way- that's exactly how the Nikon View software rendered it. I did use Photoshop, but only to clone out a sensorbunny.

Any ideas?
posted by pjern to Science & Nature (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Response by poster: Those are all listed as upper-atmospheric phenomena.... not a term I would associate as the airspace between me and my neighbor's house :)
posted by pjern at 9:59 PM on June 6, 2008

I see this a lot in photos of live music shows. It somehow has to do with how the light registers from the long shutter speed. I think concert photographers think it looks exciting but end up with it mostly because they don't know why it happens. I like that shot though -- if you crop out the neighbour's house it would just look like a really wild storm.
posted by loiseau at 10:16 PM on June 6, 2008

Response by poster: I think you're talking about reciprocity failure, loiseau, no? I understand that and don't think that's the case here, because frames immediately before and after this one did not show the effect, shot at the same f-stop and shutter speed. Besides , this is digital, not film :)
posted by pjern at 10:21 PM on June 6, 2008

Best answer: dude, that's the palm of your hand.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:24 PM on June 6, 2008 [47 favorites]

I'm not sure about terms but I'm thinking about how the colour cast of the light is multiplied by the long exposure, you know? Just a theory.

I'm definitely not thinking of film photography.
posted by loiseau at 10:28 PM on June 6, 2008

It does look like the palm of a hand!
posted by loiseau at 10:28 PM on June 6, 2008

yeah, left hand, fingers curled towards the lens. you can see the faint shape of a fingernail at the upper-right-center of the image. you probably just accidentally got in the way during that particular exposure?

ps pjern, going through your flickr stream is making me pretty nostalgic for ol' naptown. (:
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:35 PM on June 6, 2008

Response by poster: *facepalm* I bet it is..... I think I remember checking for raindrops once, and I bet the camera was in the middle of an exposure and I didn't know it! I honestly didn't see that, thinking it was the clouds rolled up and moving by the wind!
posted by pjern at 10:40 PM on June 6, 2008

It looks pretty cool though.
posted by fshgrl at 11:31 PM on June 6, 2008

Response by poster: Well, if it weren't for this little episode, I'd have never discovered the "Inept Photographer" group on Flickr.
posted by pjern at 11:45 PM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thats what my art teacher calls a 'happy accident'. It might be the palm of your hand but it looks awesome.
posted by missmagenta at 12:45 AM on June 7, 2008

Great photo!! Great Askme! What a hoot!! Great way to start the weekend!! Thanks Pjern!!
posted by pearlybob at 7:48 AM on June 7, 2008

Thanks for the chuckle, a very cool photo!
posted by sararah at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

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