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Thread: Night photography

  1. #1
    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    Default Night photography



    I have not submit any photo for CC for a while. Recently, I started night photography and would like some advice on how to further improve.

    1. In what area is critique to be sought?
    How to improve on the sharpness of the image and composition

    > 2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
    capture the scenic atmosphere of the MBS and lighting

    > 3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    I have my camera on a tripod and am using a wire remote shutter control. However, this picture is taken using a Nikon kit lens (18-105 mm VR). Camera is D300.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    1. In what area is critique to be sought?
    How to improve on the sharpness of the image and composition
    From your EXIF info, f/8, ISO100, 10s seems quite alright a setting to use. Make sure you have a stable tripod, use delayed exposure (if available) and timer for the shot to minimize movements and vibrations (due to mirror flap).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
    capture the scenic atmosphere of the MBS and lighting
    If you want nice starburst effects on the lightings, you can experiment with smaller aperture sizes, eg. f/12. Be careful not to go to the extremes such as f/22, very often this causes diffraction which has adverse effects on the quality of the image. You could stretch the DR of your camera by shooting in RAW as compared to JPEG. To bring it even further, you can try to read up on making HDR composites. Another way is to avoid shooting that late in the evening, a good time would be to wait till the sun has just set and the sky is dark blue, it will be easier to get a more balanced exposure since there is still some ambient light in contrast to the artificial lightings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    I have my camera on a tripod and am using a wire remote shutter control. However, this picture is taken using a Nikon kit lens (18-105 mm VR). Camera is D300.
    Be sure to turn off VR when on tripod, leaving VR on while on tripod can result in shots with less than optimal image quality.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Override2Zion; 13th December 2011 at 11:56 AM.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
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  3. #3
    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    Default

    Thank you for the CC. I think I forgotten to switch off the VR. Will try another day with higher ISO. Yes, I am using a Sirui T1004 tripod and remote shutter.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Night photography

    controlling blown out highlights, especially in night lights that are extreme in contrast, which most of the time are small and numerous, can be more challenging because the camera is unable to expose optimally for every single bright region (on all auto-metering modes). for example in your picture, the crystal pavillions are blown-out.

    you may want to enable ADR in-camera as a first measure. i leave it on 'low' all the time

    also, shoot raw and work the recovery slider in adobe camera raw.

    you could also do multiple exposure blending depending on how critical those details in the highlights matter to you.

    auto-exposure tends to expose too much for the sky, which further exaggerates the unpleasing red hue of the night sky in SG. this is expected because the camera is dumb and will expose for certain majority % of the scene depending on your metering mode. so, white balance setting and post color balance adjustments are also important to produce a more pleasing result.

    sharpening, contrast and saturation are exceptionally important for night scapes. i use LAB sharpening and nik tonal contrast to bring out the 'punch'.

    take note that even at f11 and up, in a very deep scene, you will still encounter softness especially towards the rear end of the scene. i apply selective sharpening to the mid-rear sections of the picture to compensate this.

    starburst effect depends on the lens as well. i use a rokinon 14mm which gives curiously large starbursts just sharing an example:



    hope this helps, night photography is both challenging and enjoyable
    D3|Tokina 28-70 f2.6-2.8|Samyang 14mm f2.8|K-7|Tamron17-50 f2.8|manfrotto190XproB
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default

    Composition wise, I don't really fancy taking the MBS from this angle. The first and second towers are obscured by the museum and the entire composite is left heavy. Not particularly disconcerting but not pleasant to look at either.

    It's critical to observe the timing of your shot to avoid over-contrasts lighting conditions and highlight clippings. You've got to do some experiment yourself. Take shots throughout the evening i.e. a photo every 5 minutes and observe the various results you get from different time. You've got to find a slot which doesn't give you to much contrast in the lightings and work from there in post editing, it's easier than "saving" clipped highlights.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Night photography

    sorry for OT.
    but your pic and scenic are very nice..
    where was it taken from?

  7. #7
    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi, thank you for all the advices. I am not too familiar with all the photography jargon yet. By the way, what is ADR and how to set this?

    Everytime I finished shooting, I then realize I was not moving enough. I tends to shoot at the same spot and angle instead of trying various angle or position. I guess that is experience. I don't seem to have this same problem with macro. I started shooting macro first.

    OT is suppose is original thread starter? The shot is taken over at the esplanade side towards the tunnel. This is one of the favorite spot by many people. I think another spot at the merlion should be better.

    I will continue to work in it. Thanks guys.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Night photography

    the thing that "jump right at me" are the blown highlights of the lights. You tried to get the overall exposure right but the highlights are blown. What you can do is use the black card technique. For me, I faced with a similar problem and still struggle to be good with this technique. One of the easier way is to shoot earlier, maybe at twilight... there is a brief moment during this time when dynamic range between the brightest and the darkest is at its smallest. Other minor details to take care of are that thing at the bottom left corner and ensuring the verticals are straight.
    ps. not quite sure what is the white spot in the cloud though.
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