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Thread: qns abt night photography

  1. #1

    Default qns abt night photography

    Hi all,

    I'll be going to a fruit farm which has loads of fireflies. Pls share with me what should be the settings on my S5IS to take pictures of the fireflies and fruits/flowers at night.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    there is no magic formula.

  3. #3

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    there is no magic formula.
    did i ask for one?

  4. #4

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ektang View Post
    did i ask for one?
    you asked, what are the settings,

    i presumed you wanted iso, f-stop and shutter speed to dial into your camera and hope that magic will happen.

    people are not there with you, also don't know what sort of lighting conditions are available.

    no need to get all snappy and cattyish, no one is out to put you down, just stating facts bluntly. if you can't handle it, too bad. my intention was not as such, sorry to hurt your sensitive nerves and feelings.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    The last time I tried this is Desaru, I gave up.

    1) You can't use flash or their light gets overpowered
    2) They don't give out much light so you need a relatively long exposure
    3) The don't stay still enough for a longer exposure to work

    The only successful firefly photos I have ever seen are macros, although they seem to be very interesting photography subjects. That goes to show how hard it is. I would choose to cheat and resort of photoshop if I really really want photos.

    I would be interested to know if firefly photos actually exist.

  6. #6

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Yes, they do. They tend to look like a black photo with lots of dust spots on them (white dots).

  7. #7
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ektang View Post
    Hi all,

    I'll be going to a fruit farm which has loads of fireflies. Pls share with me what should be the settings on my S5IS to take pictures of the fireflies and fruits/flowers at night.

    Many thanks.
    you mean your S5IS doesn't have 'night insects' mode?
    My D80 has! Turn to that mode, CONFIRM the fireflies will turn out well exposed against the dark background.

    Exploring! :)

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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Yes, they do. They tend to look like a black photo with lots of dust spots on them (white dots).
    If you use a high enough ISO, it will be quite fun trying to discern fireflies from noise and explaining to your friend how awesome the place looked

    That's why I suggested photoshop. Looks better

  9. #9

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    and shoot raw so you have control in PP.

  10. #10

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Take dark dark picture then set PS brushes to pattern and paint on all the fireflies!

    But seriously and for the sake of an interesting conversation ... if say you NEED to take a gorgeous photo of fireflies in their natural environment, how would you do it?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    But seriously and for the sake of an interesting conversation ... if say you NEED to take a gorgeous photo of fireflies in their natural environment, how would you do it?
    well. if u dun mind light streaks just set it to bulb and wait. or else jsut set ur aperture to its widest. i think it will work at night if ur iso is like 1600, aperture is 2.8 and ur shutterspeed is 1/50.

    remember we jsut want the firefly bokeh wad. who cares abt the firefly details?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Take dark dark picture then set PS brushes to pattern and paint on all the fireflies!

    But seriously and for the sake of an interesting conversation ... if say you NEED to take a gorgeous photo of fireflies in their natural environment, how would you do it?
    1) Rent a D3S
    2) Wide aperture, Wide angle lens
    3) Read up on firefly diet

    I think the trick is to let the firefly come close enough to the camera so that the relative size is significantly large enough to tell the viewer that they are light sources and not noise. Trying to bait them with food on a glass panel might work. Can't be too much food though or there would be no environment. There must be fireflies in both the foreground and background to show depth and add interest.

    The other idea is to use a glass panel closer to the camera (again with food), prefocus and fire the shutter right before it lands. Won't get much of the environment in terms of landscape but hopefully will get a cool photo with 1 firefly in focus and the rest oof and hanging in the air.

    What do you think?

  13. #13

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by kaixiang View Post
    1) Rent a D3S
    2) Wide aperture, Wide angle lens
    3) Read up on firefly diet

    I think the trick is to let the firefly come close enough to the camera so that the relative size is significantly large enough to tell the viewer that they are light sources and not noise. Trying to bait them with food on a glass panel might work. Can't be too much food though or there would be no environment. There must be fireflies in both the foreground and background to show depth and add interest.

    The other idea is to use a glass panel closer to the camera (again with food), prefocus and fire the shutter right before it lands. Won't get much of the environment in terms of landscape but hopefully will get a cool photo with 1 firefly in focus and the rest oof and hanging in the air.

    What do you think?
    This sounds attractive if you could pull it off. But I would imagine some faint supplementary light source would probably be needed if you want even the slightest hint of details.

  14. #14

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    if you are heading to desaru, and seeing the fireflies on the boat ride, i can tell you, forget about taking pictures and just enjoy the moment when the fireflies and flying around you.

    you will be missing out on the real feel when the fireflies and surrounding you. people are going "AWWwwww..." "OH LOOK AT THAT!"

    while you are going "hmm the previous pic underexposed, i need to change this and that. ok let me try again"

  15. #15
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    This sounds attractive if you could pull it off. But I would imagine some faint supplementary light source would probably be needed if you want even the slightest hint of details.
    Half moon to bring out the silhouette of the trees possibly. I didn't get to try this the last time I went to look at fireflies or GF will pull my ear off. The other significant challenge is that the fireflies hang out around the swamps at Desaru so the setup would have to do done on a boat and who knows how much the boat owner would have to be paid to be patient. Probably would have been pretty satisfying to nail the shot though.

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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeeeey View Post
    if you are heading to desaru, and seeing the fireflies on the boat ride, i can tell you, forget about taking pictures and just enjoy the moment when the fireflies and flying around you.

    you will be missing out on the real feel when the fireflies and surrounding you. people are going "AWWwwww..." "OH LOOK AT THAT!"

    while you are going "hmm the previous pic underexposed, i need to change this and that. ok let me try again"
    Agreed

    Especially if you are going with family and friends who are not photography geeks. I took like 1-2 photo and kept the camera in the bag mostly.

    By the way f/2.8, 1/50 and ISO 1600 is not enough. That's the kind of setting to use for a home interior at night with the lights on. Fireflies are much dimmer than that.

  17. #17

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    you asked, what are the settings,

    i presumed you wanted iso, f-stop and shutter speed to dial into your camera and hope that magic will happen.

    people are not there with you, also don't know what sort of lighting conditions are available.

    no need to get all snappy and cattyish, no one is out to put you down, just stating facts bluntly. if you can't handle it, too bad. my intention was not as such, sorry to hurt your sensitive nerves and feelings.
    not getting snappy. but this is a newbie corner. i'm a newbie to manual settings on camera and night photography. and i've learnt that firefly photography is probably a newbie area as my search so far only reveals some boat rides at desaru that's not ideal for photography whereas i'm going to a firefly farm. i know there's no magic formula, that's why i was hoping to learn abt the types of settings to try. i hope i can take pictures like these - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...d=477037200296

  18. #18
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    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ektang View Post
    not getting snappy. but this is a newbie corner. i'm a newbie to manual settings on camera and night photography. and i've learnt that firefly photography is probably a newbie area as my search so far only reveals some boat rides at desaru that's not ideal for photography whereas i'm going to a firefly farm. i know there's no magic formula, that's why i was hoping to learn abt the types of settings to try. i hope i can take pictures like these - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...d=477037200296
    Cool place. Looks like it has a lot more potential than the boat rides. The key is to try. Use aperture priority and take the first photo. As a baseline, use the widest aperture, 1/60s, ISO 800. If the picture looks too bright, drop ISO and/or increase shutter speed. If it is still too dark, increase ISO to 1600 and/or drop shutter speed. Depending on things like the level of light pollution from the city (which there shouldn't be much of) and the moon phase, the exposure is going to be different.

    Just bring your camera and a bit of common sense there and chimp until the picture looks look. With digital cameras, you can view the results immediately and just keep trying until you get it even if you start from f/16, 1/125s, ISO 100, you are going to get the exposure right within 20 shots if you systematically drop exposure by 1 stop for each photo. Not so hard right?

    Personally I prefer using Manual Mode because that's the only thing I have available on my camera by Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or even Program Mode will get you there but you will be using exposure compensation instead of messing with the values.

  19. #19

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ektang View Post
    not getting snappy. but this is a newbie corner. i'm a newbie to manual settings on camera and night photography. and i've learnt that firefly photography is probably a newbie area as my search so far only reveals some boat rides at desaru that's not ideal for photography whereas i'm going to a firefly farm. i know there's no magic formula, that's why i was hoping to learn abt the types of settings to try. i hope i can take pictures like these - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...d=477037200296
    i see.

    well, my suggestion is to try, night exposures can be very tricky, and metering is going to be highly inaccurate at that time. for example, a standard cbd scene at night using matrix metering will need to be overexposed anywhere from 1 stop to 4 stops. also depends on lens.

    another alternative, if your camera has it, is to use spot metering.

    if you want maximal image quality my advice is to use a tripod, and base exposure on histogram as your camera lcd is not going to be accurate to eye.

    hope this helps.

  20. #20

    Default Re: qns abt night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i see.

    well, my suggestion is to try, night exposures can be very tricky, and metering is going to be highly inaccurate at that time. for example, a standard cbd scene at night using matrix metering will need to be overexposed anywhere from 1 stop to 4 stops. also depends on lens.

    another alternative, if your camera has it, is to use spot metering.

    if you want maximal image quality my advice is to use a tripod, and base exposure on histogram as your camera lcd is not going to be accurate to eye.

    hope this helps.
    I agree on the tripod part.

    For the sake of discussion, how should the histogram be interpreted, if only the lights of the firefly are the main highlights, means it will be bunched to the left?

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