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Thread: Question about taking pictures of Neon Sign Board

  1. #1

    Default Question about taking pictures of Neon Sign Board

    Hello all, i'm using a POwershot A-60 and i have a problem whenever i tried to capture very bright objects, like neon signboard in chinatown or clarke quay. The neon sign board always became a patch of glaring bright light with not defined outline of the words. The same problem occurs when i tried to take pictures of sunrise or moon too. Instead of having a defined outline of the moon, it is just a round patch of light without outline. Can anyone please advise me on some techiques?

    The following are some of the examples...


    The left upper patch of light is supposed to be a signboard but the light becomes smudged together.


    The rightmost signboard does not have any defined outlines too.



    The blue patch of light is actually the word "Voodoo" but it turn out to be just a patch of blue light

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Unfortunately, nothing much you can do. The neon signs are usually a LOT brighter than the rest of the scene. if the neon signs are to be correctly exposed, the rest will be severely underexposed; if the rest of the scene is to be correct, you get what you show here.

    Regards
    CK

  3. #3
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    ordinaryless, in the traditional way, there is a technique called the black card trick. First you prepare a small black card, then expose your camera to the neon scene using B mode, when you think the neon sign is done, then cover the camera "partially" with the black card, and leave the remaining part continue to be exposed on B.

    You will need to try a few times to get a good shot, but you will get there eventually.

  4. #4
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    Another poss way is to take 2 shots, one metered for the background, one for the sign, and blend them using software.

  5. #5

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    Originally posted by ST1100
    Another poss way is to take 2 shots, one metered for the background, one for the sign, and blend them using software.
    Wah seh.

    That'll be sooooo fake, even for a digital photo.

  6. #6

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    not really, luminous landscape explored it to good effect while another B/W photomag also demonstrated the technique....

  7. #7

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    Originally posted by GitS
    not really, luminous landscape explored it to good effect while another B/W photomag also demonstrated the technique....
    Yeah, I know.

    But it seemed wrong somehow. I dunno.

  8. #8
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    Theoretically feasible, but in reality, not really easy to get a convincing blend. By 'convincing', i mean the picture looks natural.

    Luminous Landscape demonstrated on one sky/foreground picture... i think it'll be harder to do on the neon signs. Not to mention that there are different light sources in his pictures.. may need an accurate exposure for each light source to get details in/near the light.

    i don't feel there's anything 'wrong', but 'fake' would probably be the right word, unless it's well done.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by VincentLin
    Wah seh.

    That'll be sooooo fake, even for a digital photo.
    No, this is a technique used (and taught) to extend the dynamic range of a photo. Look for it in the various books on Photoshop for photography (not only for digital mah)

  10. #10

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    Wah, i didn't expect my post to be discussed by so many experts in this forum, cool! Thank you all for the tips and techiques. I've heard about taking 2 different pictures, one for the neon lightboards, the other for the background. Well, duno really know how to fully use photoshop yet. Isit simple on photoshop? Anyone care to list out the simplified steps?

    Once again, thank you all for the constructive response.

  11. #11
    moxie
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    For a while, I read as "No Sign Board"...

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