Night Photography


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jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#1
Hi I am new to this forum and indeed there is much that I can learn from.

I am planning to do some night photography along orchard road with my D70 and 18-70 mm lens. I like to seek your opinion, what settings is best for me i.e what priority settings I should use, ISA, EV etc. I guess my subjects will be a mix of the building lightings, people and traffic. Also intend to explore bulb, what would be a typical setting like ...

Thanks in advance for your comments and advice.
 

d7t3

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Oct 3, 2002
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In the Shepherd's hands
#2
e.g. ISO 200, f/8 or f/11, for wide scenes like traffic zooming down.
if using bulb, then it's M mode. try the timings yourself e.g. 2s.
i usually set tone to -2. and i don't bother with long-exposure NR.
 

#3
I use a D70 still :) I want the best quality picture thus will tryto shoot RAW at ISO 200 for very intresting scene. The next best thing would be JPG Fine Larger format but still at ISO 200. When you are doing night photography the lower the ISO the better as you are not worry about having not enough exposure time since you are doing long exporsure shots.

My aperture is normally kept to f11. I might change it from f8 to f16 if I am bracketing a shot. But there are instances that I might play with even f1.8 on my 50mm or f2.8,f3.5 eg. ..to get a shallow depth of field for some scene where I might mix it up with a close up object against a background scene. My WB is normally set to Auto -2. To save time with editing colour I try to "cheat" by setting colour to IIIa sRGB to get nice vibrate colour. I take long exposure with speed ranging from creating dark shape at 1/60 to as long as 1 min...sometime even longer...if the shot calls for it. I leave NR mode on most of the time in case I am too lazy to use Ninja plugin in my photoshop program to clean up the shot. Some NR by my camera is better then no NR.(Noise Reduction for those who don;t know) Yes NR can take a while but hell I have the whole month to shoot! heh.

Apart from my camera and lens..to me the most important items to bring for night shooting would be a sturdy tripod like my Manfrotto 190 and also to trigger all my shots from a wireless remote. All this to minimise vibration effecting the clarity of my shoots. Take note of some special fairground site or places that have allevated wooden walkways. Placing your tripod on them to take long exposure will be a challege as people walking even a distance off can offset wooden plank and move your camera about slightly. You might not see it but your camera image will later show you that it did :)

If you have a external flash, that would come in handy to "paint" some shots. Since you are shooting on long exposure, you can set your flash to do multi-flash and adjust the flash power range something just shot of a full flash. What I do is hand hold the flash and manual fire off the flash aiming all over the place I know is within the frame of my shot. This way I can bring in more light to places that is way too dark to capture any details. If you have colour gel for your flash...even better..put one on and set off some portion of your scene with another colour taint tot he building wall, a structure..etc.

Normally I will take a few nights to shoot the entire festive scene. First night shoot less but take note and use my time to plan my shots at each site. Yes till today from the first time I started learning photography, I alway take notes on places and my shooting mode so I can go home to review my shots and technique. That is really the only way to learn. Then I will break my shooting spree into maybe 3 nights. You do need to break it into a few trips as some scene might be nice when capture with setting sun after glow in the background as the Christmas lights are lit. And becasue you can not be in a few spots at the same time for the limited time of the sunset, you will have to revist a site again to capture it with another night of after glow.

Most important of all...always shoot on weekdays instead of weekends for obvious reasons :)

Okay that is basically what I do and this year will be no difference heh...

Happy shooting....
 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#4
happy shooting

after sammy888 normally i do not anything else to add

remember to smile at people and they will normally smile back :)
 

fWord

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Jun 23, 2005
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#5
Another side option which I'd like to suggest to you is walkaround night photography. That is, photography at night without using a tripod. Since DSLRs have lower noise levels than those on regular point and shoots, it is possible to bump the ISO up to 800 and even 1600 if need be.

With steady hands, the correct standing and breathing technique, you can get night photographs quickly and easily. Although they may lack the charm of true long exposure photographs, you get improved speed and convenience...especially handy in extremely crowded areas or quiet back alleys where it might be hazardous to set up a tripod.

Open the aperture up wide so that you can get a fast enough shutter speed and avoid camera shake. Otherwise, leave the camera at Program Mode (or equivalent) and let the camera decide for itself.

At a focal length of 18mm, anything from 1/18 of a second down to around 1/6 of a second should be manageable. Opening up the shutter also means that you lose the star-like effect that is created by stronger points of light. If that is an issue to you, consider getting hold of a starlight filter (creates star-like effects from light sources, although albeit too strong sometimes) for this purpose. This is something I would try myself when I get down to the camera shops again.

PS. If you don't have a remote control, then use the self-timer function to trigger your shutter. I also tend to go for -1/3 to -2/3 stop exposure compensation for night photography.
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#6
Thanks all all the suggestions ... indeed I was thinking of the walkaround photography .. tried that once, and all my shots went into the drain ... I suppose was my settings and also my trembling hands. Looks like I really need to take using tripod.
 

fWord

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Jun 23, 2005
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#7
jnvk said:
Thanks all all the suggestions ... indeed I was thinking of the walkaround photography .. tried that once, and all my shots went into the drain ... I suppose was my settings and also my trembling hands. Looks like I really need to take using tripod.
Heheh...well, that's completely normal. Initially I had the same problems as well. I was dealing with shutter speeds that were only around 1/30 or 1/20 of a second, and the images were already turning out blurred. I convinced myself that the shutter speed was too slow and I couldn't handhold the camera in those conditions.

It wasn't long before I realized that this was a mental fault. I made it a point to go out to Clarke Quay and also stroll the Singapore River to do some handheld photos on one particular night. When I loaded the photos up on computer, the results surprised me. Some photos taken at even 1/3 or 1/2 of a second are still decently sharp. Since then, things have never been the same again.

Something amusing though...it seems that there are nights when I'm more steady than others.

Of course, in the end, photography from a tripod gives absolute sharpness and a refined look. But if you want to go for a more gritty appearence, walkaround night photography can be very fun.
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#9
ortega said:
slow shutter speed exposure + rear sync flash goes well together
try it with slight panning
I am still learning all the jargon and terminology, can you kindly elaborate on teh rear sync flash and panning?

Appreciate it a great deal ..:)
 

ortega

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#10
rear sync flash is when the flash fires just when the shutter is about to close.

panning is the moving of the camera while following the subject.

do a google, lots of information with examples on the net.
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#11
ortega said:
rear sync flash is when the flash fires just when the shutter is about to close.

panning is the moving of the camera while following the subject.

do a google, lots of information with examples on the net.

Thanks Ortega for the explanation .. :D
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#12
Hi

Took some shots last night and like to share ... for comments please

<img src="http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c112/jnvk/DSC_3966copy.jpg">
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#15
strange, the previous picture I thought I have rotated it ... but it orientation is still wrong.

Anyway, I tried the unsharp mask ...thank you fWord for sharing the devainART tutorial ...

Heres Raffles Hotel,

Without auto curve adjustment


With auto curve adjustment
 

fWord

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Jun 23, 2005
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#16
Hmm...nice work, especially the one of the Westin. The perspective and framing is excellent, although there's just a little bit of lens flare towards the left.

The cropping on the Raffles Hotel is tight and focused...if only there was an elevated place where a symmetrical photo can be made.
 

jnvk

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Nov 13, 2005
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#17
fWord said:
Hmm...nice work, especially the one of the Westin. The perspective and framing is excellent, although there's just a little bit of lens flare towards the left.

The cropping on the Raffles Hotel is tight and focused...if only there was an elevated place where a symmetrical photo can be made.
Thanks fWord for the encouragement ... :bsmilie:
 

Jul 31, 2005
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Bt Batok
#18
westin has flairing. did u use the hood? stopping down more can also help. i feel that the pics r 1/3ev too dark, but thats just my personal preference.

i tought ur curve adj was well done(haha but its auto rite) some lost shadows were recovered, like between the words [raffles hotel] and the x'mas decorations
 

fWord

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Jun 23, 2005
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#19
jnvk said:
Thanks fWord for the encouragement ... :bsmilie:
It's always good to see photos like this, taken from a tripod or some other stable surface. I hardly use the tripod myself these days, purely because I'm lazy.
 

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