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Thread: Trying Night Photography

  1. #1
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Trying Night Photography

    I'm discovering all the features of my new DSLR - one item at a time.
    Tried night photography over the weekend. Most were duds, but here are 2 that came out decent. Technically it wasn't night yet - there was still a tiny bit of daylight.
    When viewing on my computer I found at least one thing wrong: The light dots through the chairs!
    Wrong angle.....Aargh!

    Trying Night Photography

    Trying Night Photography

    Exif Data is very similar for both photos. Anything wrong in these settings?

    Filename - nightvision2_(1_of_1).jpg
    Make - NIKON CORPORATION
    Model - NIKON D5000
    DateTime - 2011:08:28 21:24:28
    ExposureTime - 10 seconds
    FNumber - 5
    ExposureProgram - Shutter priority
    ISOSpeedRatings - 200
    ExifVersion - 0221
    DateTimeOriginal - 2011:08:27 20:44:17
    DateTimeDigitized - 2011:08:27 20:44:17
    ShutterSpeedValue - 10 seconds
    ApertureValue - F 5.00
    ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
    MaxApertureValue - F 4.92
    SubjectDistance - 2.24 m
    MeteringMode - Multi-segment
    LightSource - Auto
    Flash - Not fired
    FocalLength - 34.00 mm
    SubsecTimeOriginal - 50
    SubsecTimeDigitized - 50
    SensingMethod - One-chip color area sensor
    FileSource - DSC - Digital still camera
    SceneType - A directly photographed image
    CustomRendered - Custom process
    ExposureMode - Auto
    White Balance - Auto
    DigitalZoomRatio - 1 x
    FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 51 mm
    SceneCaptureType - Standard
    GainControl - None
    Contrast - Normal
    Saturation - Normal
    Sharpness - Normal
    SubjectDistanceRange - Unknown

  2. #2
    stevewe88's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Hi Kris
    Nice first efforts. I love trying something new and seeing how it turns out

    A really cool thing to try if you are using slow shutter speeds on a scene like this is to get a high powered torch and shine it over some of the background trees to bring out a bit more detail in them. Literally just wave it all over a tree and you will hopefully be amazed at the results.

    Or if you have a flashgun, you can do what I do and press the shutter, then run around like a lunatic firing off the flash at anything that I fancy. It's really good fun to see the results.

    Of your two images. I like number two the best because the table and chairs is not right in the middle of the frame like the first one.

    Both images have an orange cast to them which will have come from the light on the right hand side but you should be able to improve this by changing the white balance.

    Cheers
    Steve

  3. #3
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by stevewe88 View Post
    Hi Kris
    Nice first efforts. I love trying something new and seeing how it turns out

    A really cool thing to try if you are using slow shutter speeds on a scene like this is to get a high powered torch and shine it over some of the background trees to bring out a bit more detail in them. Literally just wave it all over a tree and you will hopefully be amazed at the results.

    Or if you have a flashgun, you can do what I do and press the shutter, then run around like a lunatic firing off the flash at anything that I fancy. It's really good fun to see the results.

    Of your two images. I like number two the best because the table and chairs is not right in the middle of the frame like the first one.

    Both images have an orange cast to them which will have come from the light on the right hand side but you should be able to improve this by changing the white balance.

    Cheers
    Steve
    Thanks for the feedback - I don't consider these keepers. I never really did any editing on these - they're just OOC and exported from LR directly as jpgs. I'm going to try it again with a longer exposure time and from a different angle.
    The orange cast probably comes from the (out of the frame) yellow bug light on top of a pole. The light spots coming through the chairs are REALLY bugging me!
    Gotta wait until next Friday when we're back in the country.

  4. #4
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Technically it wasn't night yet - there was still a tiny bit of daylight.
    I think it is better to do night stuff at dusk mainly; but you have to look out for those bright spots.

  5. #5
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Hi Kris, when doing night photography the phrase 'it's all about the light' is critical to the success of the image. In these images you have sufficient light to properly expose the foreground and some of the middle ground.

    You have two basic lighting options, expose for the natural light (dusk/sunset/sunrise/moonlight) or use lighting sources. Typically, if you don't have natural light, images that are not in the city are extremely difficult to get without planned lighting sources. It's as if you are doing portraiture of nature in a dark room.

    This is not to say that you can't get some fantastic moody images after dark, it's just that you need to have a target 'look' you are trying to achieve and the lighting necessary to create that look. Next, in almost every case you'll need to take bracketing exposures due to the difficulty in getting the correct exposure under these conditions and the extreme contrast ratio between what is lit well and what isn't.

    I shoot almost exclusively with available light, even when shooting night photography, so if you need help with flash or other controlled lighting, others can provide you more guidance than I can.

    When you look at these two shots, what do you like about them?

    What would you like to change?

    Hope this helps you to focus on a direction to go with your night photography.

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris V View Post
    ...The light spots coming through the chairs are REALLY bugging me!
    Looking at the 2 images, I don't think these little light spots are caused by the camera. I think they are separate light sources that you're not aware of when you took the shots. On the 2nd shot, you have one located at the far left horizon. Interesting to say, it's the same height as the ones at the chair. Maybe, it just so happened that when you took the shot, these light spots got located at the chair.

    Usually, when I have not understood the principle behind a certain technique in photography, I don't stop until it is clear to me how it works. I guess you could do the same with regards to your study about night photography. Make everything constant and then use one element as your variable. An example would be to make the ISO, aperture, lens focus, and camera position constant and then just change the shutter speed alone. That can give you a lot of insight how it works. That's the reason why you can learn hard and well if you stick using manual exposure. Good luck, Kris.
    Last edited by jiro; 30th August 2011 at 03:58 PM.

  7. #7
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Looking at the 2 images, I don't think these little light spots are caused by the camera. I think they are separate light sources that you're not aware of when you took the shots. On the 2nd shot, you have one located at the far left horizon. Interesting to say, it's the same height as the ones at the chair. Maybe, it just so happened that when you took the shot, these light spots got located at the chair.

    Usually, when I have not understood the principle behind a certain technique in photography, I don't stop until it is clear to me how it works. I guess you could do the same with regards to your study about night photography. Make everything constant and then use one element as your variable. An example would be to make the ISO, aperture, lens focus, and camera position constant and then just change the shutter speed alone. That can give you a lot of insight how it works. That's the reason why you can learn hard and well if you stick using manual exposure. Good luck, Kris.
    Hi Jiro,
    I know exactly where those light spots are coming from, and it's USER ERROR! Those are a set of solar powered lights around a walkway. And they peeked through the chairs.
    In live View it wasn't obvious, but on my computer they just jumped out, and for me ruined the shot.
    Back to the drawing board............Trying to retake these shots from different angles and with different camera settings.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. #8
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Kris, when doing night photography the phrase 'it's all about the light' is critical to the success of the image. In these images you have sufficient light to properly expose the foreground and some of the middle ground.

    You have two basic lighting options, expose for the natural light (dusk/sunset/sunrise/moonlight) or use lighting sources. Typically, if you don't have natural light, images that are not in the city are extremely difficult to get without planned lighting sources. It's as if you are doing portraiture of nature in a dark room.

    This is not to say that you can't get some fantastic moody images after dark, it's just that you need to have a target 'look' you are trying to achieve and the lighting necessary to create that look. Next, in almost every case you'll need to take bracketing exposures due to the difficulty in getting the correct exposure under these conditions and the extreme contrast ratio between what is lit well and what isn't.

    I shoot almost exclusively with available light, even when shooting night photography, so if you need help with flash or other controlled lighting, others can provide you more guidance than I can.

    When you look at these two shots, what do you like about them?

    What would you like to change?

    Hope this helps you to focus on a direction to go with your night photography.
    Frank, I like to try things out - there's going to be a lot more experimenting with night photography in the coming weeks. Using a flash is not really on my list right now, (maybe later, when I have a better idea how all this works).
    I want to experiment with aperture and exposure time with the available light, and the lowest ISO I can get away with.

  9. #9
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Trying Night Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I think it is better to do night stuff at dusk mainly; but you have to look out for those bright spots.
    Yea, didn't pay attention to the those. I'll do better next time!

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