Camera Lightning Capture

The people at [Hobby Robotics] decided to build a trigger circuit for lightning photography. There are more complex ways to do this, but they just used a photo transistor and an Arduino. The Arduino watches the photo transistor’s value and compares it to the previously captured one. If the difference is above a certain threshold, it means a rapid change in the amount of light has occurred, which triggers the shutter. An earlier post covered how to directly control the Canon 30d using an Arduino. All of this works because the shutter lag and code execution together are less than lighting’s 100ms duration.

6 thoughts on “Camera Lightning Capture

  1. Yes Yes. a proper hardware hack. Elliot good to have you back.

    Man where was this a year ago. There were a bunch of us lonely retards sitting on a dock in Florida trying to capture lightning manually. Of course the lightning was about 30 miles off and the flashes weren’t that bright to trigger this (the headlights of cars on HW 1 would have triggered it easier). Needless to say we didnt get much.

    Say, Would there be a way to make this Highly directional to facilitate catching the precise area you wanted?

  2. Maybe you could put the phototransistor up to the eyepiece of a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. You’d want something to block stray light so it only saw light that came through the optics.

  3. I prefer to use CHDK for it. Works with almost every Canon cam an adds Motion detection (works great for lightnings). No Firmware Hack, just a additional software!

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