I agree that Velvia is a great film. For landscape slides especially, it
has no equal. For coil shots though, I most often shoot print film, and I
would like to recommend Fuji Reala. It's the best print film I've used for
night photography, and for beginners it's more forgiving of incorrect
exposure settings than Velvia. Print film in general has more exposure
As for f-stop, I would recommend a little experimentation here. If you
find yourself with weak looking streamers and want more body to the sparks,
you can stop down a little bit and go for a longer exposure. Arcs are
bright, and you'll have no problem getting them on film even with small
aperatures. Some of my better lightning exposures were at f/22. Take a
I had to use long exposure times because I never knew when the lightning was
going to strike. This meant using as small an aperature as possible, to
avoid recording excessing thermal noise. You'll see that the photos are
over-jpeged, but that's photopoint's fault- they recompress them.
> Original Poster: "Dr. Resonance" <Dr.Resonance-at-next-wave-dot-net>
> Very good results at f1.4 or 2.8 with 4 sec. time exposures. Be sure to use
> Fuji Velvia color slide film --- the color saturation and density are
> incredible. You will have to go a a professional photo supplier to get this
> film as few stores stock it, but it's worth every nickel in the finished
> slide. Always place your camera on a tripod and use the 2 sec auto timer
> (delay) if possible so there is no camera motion.
> Also, be sure to place a heavy black plastic "cover" over the front part of
> the coil so as to block off the strong UV light from the primary coil --- it
> will overpower your camera and not allow you to see the detail of the sec
> Another good trick is to hang a vertical wire high above the coil and approx
> 4-6 feet away from the coil down to about the primary. The sec spark will
> strike this wire and then "climb" like a Jacob's Ladder due to thermal
> heating. The climbing arc up this vertical wire makes for very exciting
> spark pictures.
> PS -- I'm not a Fuji salesman --- I just discovered it works the very best
> for spark pictures.