Well here goes nothing….Not Really!
The fact that you came here open-minded looking for true honest critiques on your work is not nothing, don’t sell yourself short.
As for CC, WCS and ebi, they all offer good insight and advice for improvement, trust me we can all use a little improving.
Lightning is tricky, down here in Southern California, we don’t get much in the way of lightning. Combining them into a composite photo, whats the worst that can happen, it looks like crap and you wasted an hour or so trying it out. At least give it a try to see what it may become.
I’m not going to add anything on the lightning shots, because it’s already been said. The main thing for me was the noise, it had looked like to me like you were trying to increase the exposure in post, not sure if that is the case or not or it being the combination of the camera or what.
True, the vignetting is killing it, as ebi pointed out, but I like the silhouette verses the contrasty background.
As for the camera and tripod, you learn to deal with what you have at your disposal. If you have a shitty camera and gear, make the best of it from what it can do. We all have been there, I still have 3 of my shitty cameras and 4 crappy ass tripods, why, I don’t know, but I still have them. If you have a lower grade camera, you know what it’s limitations are, you then adjust your shooting technique to make the most of it, don’t make excuses for it. I mean that in the best way possible.
One of my old shitty cameras only went up to ISO 800, shows you how old it is. Limitation – Dark scenarios are not good. Solution – find a way to light the scene up or lengthen the exposure time or both.