FC writes –
This circuit is used to trigger a camera’s electronic shutter circuit when a flash of lightning is present. This circuit would also work for photographing fireworks displays or other events involving flashes of light. In a nutshell, the photo darlington converts light pulses into electrical pulses, the first LM324 section amplifies the electrical pulses, the second LM324 section is a high pass filter that only passes quick changes (lightning). The third LM324 stage is a comparator that allows only large pulses to pass through, and the 4047 one-shot stretches out the length of the pulses so that they are long enough to drive the relay and trigger the camera.