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Thread: Night Landscape Photo Technique

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    Night Landscape Photo Technique

    Hi Guys,

    I was encouraged by Colin Southern to post some pictures on here. Here is my first that I think may be worth posting. I took this while I was on holidays on the North Coast of NSW.

    Any commentary/advice/criticisms would be greatly appreciated.

    Night Landscape Photo Technique

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    It is really amazing! Love it! CM

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    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Very nice! I really like the color saturation and the composition.
    Regards,
    Jim

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    Daniel Salazar's Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    WOW, really nice! could you share your technique? could you tell us how you reached such a vibrant picture?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    HI Dan (88),

    This certainly was worth posting!
    Well spotted, (as Jim says) nicely composed and good presentation.

    Well done,

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Just wondering, "what aperture / shutterspeed / ISO was it shot at"?

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Hi Guys...

    Thanks for all the positive comments. I'm only a newbie but I'm trying to learn about all the functions of my camera so this was kind of an experiment shot that ended up being my favourite. My main criticism to myself was that I thought the lights on the left were a little too overpowering (in terms of glare). I've taken a few with a little less glare, but it tended to miss out on other details such as how green the grass were and the level of detail on the trees. There was an 8s shot that didn't have such overbearing glare, but as mentioned, the level of detail was degraded. I don't know how to get a photo with plenty of detail, while still keeping the glare down...

    Daniel, there wasn't really much technique involved to capture (as I'm only learning so I tend to only fiddle with a few settings at once). I just set the camera to Shutter Priority mode (this one was taken at 20s on a tripod) and left the ISO and Aperture alone. WB was on custom, however I can't remember what I had it on. The sky was blue when I was shooting (although it was twilight so there wasn't much light left in the sky - but plenty of mozzies biting my legs!) but somehow the photo developed a somewhat purple appearance. I'm not quite sure how, however I think it tends to mix well with the greens in the photo.

    Colin, here are the specs of the photo. I had the camera on Shutter Priority.
    Focal Length: 24mm
    I'm a bit confused about this one... In the info pane in MAC OS X, my camera has put an Aperture value of 7 in the exif data, however there is also a FNumber value of 11... Not sure which one is the correct one (although I think 11 sounds about right)
    Shutterspeed: 20s
    ISO: 200 (set to auto I believe)

    Any more comments/criticism would be much appreciated! As mentioned before though, I'm a newbie so be kind!

    UPDATE: I've posted the picture of the 8s photo for comparison.
    Night Landscape Photo Technique

    Original
    Night Landscape Photo Technique

    I have linked these photos to flickr so the full version is viewable by clicking the image.
    Last edited by dan88; 1st April 2009 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Adding photos

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    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Dan,
    I like the lights.Only thing I can see,you might want to clone out the lens flare to the right of the big tree trunk in the shadows.
    Jim

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Dan,
    I like the lights.Only thing I can see,you might want to clone out the lens flare to the right of the big tree trunk in the shadows.
    Jim
    Hi Jim,

    Is this a function performed in Photoshop? I'm just a little unsure as my skills are a bit rusty in Photoshop as I haven't had much experience.

    Thanks

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    Hi Jim,

    Is this a function performed in Photoshop? I'm just a little unsure as my skills are a bit rusty in Photoshop as I haven't had much experience.

    Thanks
    If i was in your place and i was there, then i will try to move a little bit so i will try to keep the composition good enough but to be away from the light, at least trying to avoid the flare, i had that problem when i was shooting the night shots in Dunedin or Christchurch [NZ] and Stirling [Scotland], but i avoid it by moving a little bit around.

    The shot is truly nice, well done!

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Tareq Alhemrani View Post
    If i was in your place and i was there, then i will try to move a little bit so i will try to keep the composition good enough but to be away from the light, at least trying to avoid the flare, i had that problem when i was shooting the night shots in Dunedin or Christchurch [NZ] and Stirling [Scotland], but i avoid it by moving a little bit around.

    The shot is truly nice, well done!
    Hi Tareq,

    Unfortunately I went there a few weeks ago (and I had no 3G reception or very little there so I couldn't upload while I was there) so I don't really have another go until next time. In hindsight, I probably should've moved away from the lights on the left and only had the light in the picture on the right included in the photo. This way, I probably would've avoided the glare as well as enhancing the background to make some of the trees abit more visible.

    Thanks for your comments.

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    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Hi Dan,

    Yes, it's a Photoshop tool.I'm new at PP also,but the clone stamp tool is fairly easy to use.
    Jim

  13. #13

    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Very nice work. A really punchy image. I am inspired enough to consider wandering the streets at night.

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Very nice work. A really punchy image. I am inspired enough to consider wandering the streets at night.
    Thanks... I probably would too if there weren't so many damn mozzies in summer in Australia. It was worse where I was staying at though because I had like 10 biting me at once at any one time because I was practically in the bush...

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    My main criticism to myself was that I thought the lights on the left were a little too overpowering (in terms of glare). I've taken a few with a little less glare, but it tended to miss out on other details such as how green the grass were and the level of detail on the trees. There was an 8s shot that didn't have such overbearing glare, but as mentioned, the level of detail was degraded. I don't know how to get a photo with plenty of detail, while still keeping the glare down...
    Flare? or Glare? or Both?

    On the first point: I think the lights (on the left) are a bit overpowering in their intensity – which I think is what you are saying too. But if you expose less (i.e. the 8s shot) you loose the effect of those lights as illumination for the scene.

    To remedy this you could have framed the shot with those lights out of the frame . . . obviously that changes the composition . . . but would that be bad?

    I also think that Flare from those light is moderately intrusive.

    I would not beat oneself up, about these two points.


    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    I'm only learning so I tend to only fiddle with a few settings at once.
    IMO: don’t.

    Better to try one or two changes at a time – even if you end up with 40 images, it is much cheaper than film.


    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    WB was on custom, however I can't remember what I had it on. The sky was blue when I was shooting (although it was twilight so there wasn't much light left in the sky - but plenty of mozzies biting my legs!) but somehow the photo developed a somewhat purple appearance. I'm not quite sure how, however I think it tends to mix well with the greens in the photo.
    You have the answer, I believe: it is because you had the WB set to a custom function and you captured in JPEG only – my guess is you had either TUNGSTEN or FLORESCENT selected Custom WB selected, most likely TUNGSTEN.


    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    Any more comments/criticism would be much appreciated! As mentioned before though, I'm a newbie so be kind!
    I like the image. I particularly like the (low) camera elevation.

    In the interests of learning, I do think the lights on the left distract the viewer’s eye a bit but I do not think that your compositional ability should be the topic of critique – because this image indicates you have a good eye.

    I think you would be better served with a more technical analysis. So if I may, a few more guesses:

    It was a zoom lens?
    Not sure on this point; but you could have been using filter?
    I am pretty certain no lens hood – because I am guessing it is a kit zoom lens?
    the Flare is exacerbated with all these factors.

    So if some of my guesses are correct, you might consider extending your learning with changing fewer elements as you go, and perhaps considering:

    . when shooting into lights, take off the filter, use your hand (assuming the camera is on a tripod) to shield any flare – which means you need to play around looking closely through the viewfinder.

    . perhaps frame the image such that the lights still illuminate the scene but not all (or none) of them are in shot.

    . Shoot RAW or RAW + JPEG, so there is more capacity to manipulate in post production.

    WW

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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Flare? or Glare? or Both?

    On the first point: I think the lights (on the left) are a bit overpowering in their intensity – which I think is what you are saying too. But if you expose less (i.e. the 8s shot) you loose the effect of those lights as illumination for the scene.

    To remedy this you could have framed the shot with those lights out of the frame . . . obviously that changes the composition . . . but would that be bad?

    I also think that Flare from those light is moderately intrusive.

    I would not beat oneself up, about these two points.




    IMO: don’t.

    Better to try one or two changes at a time – even if you end up with 40 images, it is much cheaper than film.




    You have the answer, I believe: it is because you had the WB set to a custom function and you captured in JPEG only – my guess is you had either TUNGSTEN or FLORESCENT selected Custom WB selected, most likely TUNGSTEN.




    I like the image. I particularly like the (low) camera elevation.

    In the interests of learning, I do think the lights on the left distract the viewer’s eye a bit but I do not think that your compositional ability should be the topic of critique – because this image indicates you have a good eye.

    I think you would be better served with a more technical analysis. So if I may, a few more guesses:

    It was a zoom lens?
    Not sure on this point; but you could have been using filter?
    I am pretty certain no lens hood – because I am guessing it is a kit zoom lens?
    the Flare is exacerbated with all these factors.

    So if some of my guesses are correct, you might consider extending your learning with changing fewer elements as you go, and perhaps considering:

    . when shooting into lights, take off the filter, use your hand (assuming the camera is on a tripod) to shield any flare – which means you need to play around looking closely through the viewfinder.

    . perhaps frame the image such that the lights still illuminate the scene but not all (or none) of them are in shot.

    . Shoot RAW or RAW + JPEG, so there is more capacity to manipulate in post production.

    WW
    Hi William.

    I didn't really change too many settings on the camera. To be honest, I didn't know the picture was actually on anything other than AWB, however after I saw your post, I seem to recall it being on Tungsten. The settings I mainly played around with on that night were the shutter speed (and left it in shutter priority mode). I didn't touch any of the other settings that night (even ISO). I'd rather learn one aspect of the camera every time I go rather than try and learn them all and get nowhere - I do agree with you on this one.

    Your assumption about my camera/lens were correct (I don't know how you picked up so much info off two images... lol). I was also using a filter. What detrimental effects could this possibly have on the image? I kinda get the drift that you were saying it created the flare in the image.

    I kind of wish I'd avoided the lights on the left (only had their lighting or maybe a small glare in the corner from one of the lights instead of them all). You mention about the compensation being changed by the lights not being in the picture, but it would have probably enhanced the scenery further (as there wouldn't have been bright lights changing the exposure of the photo).

    I went shooting again tonight (after reading your post). This time I made sure I shot in RAW + JPEG so I can have a bit of a play in Aperture or the default Canon software that came with the camera. Which is better in your opinion (Aperture or the Canon software)?

    I'll post up some pictures that I took tonight shortly to get some more opinions.

    Thanks for all your input!

  17. #17
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Night Landscape Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    I don't know how you picked up so much info off two images...
    Playing with cameras for a long time; being dependent upon them to put bread on the table; and very seriously learning a lot of stuff about lots of things; tuning the senses and being very observant.

    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    I was also using a filter. What detrimental effects could this possibly have on the image? I kinda get the drift that you were saying it created the flare in the image.
    Yes. When shooting into bright lights a filter will usually exacerbate both Lens Flare and Veiling Flare.

    Both types of Flare are intrinsically worse in the consumer range of lenses: Veiling Flare, usually more so.

    Do not run out and buy $30,000 worth of lenses after reading my comments.

    The kit lens have (my guess either Nikon or Canon 17 to 55 ish) is a fine lens – I have access to both the Canon kit versions (EF-S 17 to 55 F/3.5 to F/5.6) . . . the IS version is the better – I am not familiar with the newer Nikon lenses.

    It is all about knowing the limitations of these lenses.


    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    ). You mention about the compensation being changed by the lights not being in the picture, but it would have probably enhanced the scenery further (as there wouldn't have been bright lights changing the exposure of the photo

    I think we are at a misunderstanding here. For this type of photography, I would not have used any automatic exposure mode – that is allowing the camera to do the thinking for me. I would have used manual mode (M); selectively taken light meter readings from portions of the scene; and calculated the exposure manually.


    Quote Originally Posted by dan88 View Post
    I went shooting again tonight (after reading your post). This time I made sure I shot in RAW + JPEG so I can have a bit of a play in Aperture or the default Canon software that came with the camera. Which is better in your opinion (Aperture or the Canon software)

    Yes I have commented on the Bridge at Northbridge. Looking up is great!

    I use Photoshop – but not that much – I am peculiar like that – I shoot RAW + JPEG, with the aim to shoot a perfect JPEG. Sadly some PP sharpening is mostly always necessary: I have come to accept that.

    I think getting you head around using and understanding the camera’s internal light meter’s function and then exposing these images in Manual Mode (M) is more important at this time, than Post Production.

    Others might disagree on this point, but IMO: "it is all in the neg."

    WW

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