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Thread: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

  1. #1

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    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    I went for a walk around the city center(sheffield) camera and tripod at the ready to have a go at night time photography. here are a few of the better shots i got, not really happy with a lot of the photo's i took.

    #1


    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    #2

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    #3

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    #4

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    most of my pictures ended up like #4,which to me seem too bright/lacking vibrance that i see in other night time photos ive seen.

    any advice/comments on where i may be going wrong would be appreciated.

    FYI.....Nikon D5000,kit 18-55 lens, mostly using manual mode 20sec shutter and F8.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Better than my first attempts in your fair city Clive.

    I'd be pleased with these.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Night photo's are hard; so when I go to the trouble I tend to shoot at dusk, and then make it look like night. I like the pond the most but traffic lights are good.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by sabbath18 View Post
    most of my pictures ended up like #4,which to me seem too bright/lacking vibrance that i see in other night time photos ive seen.
    Clive

    Can you talk us through what post-processing you did? There doesn't seem to be anything particularly amiss with the capture. So, I think what your striving for will be down to your post-processing skills.

    One point - In compositional terms, what I assume is some sort of ledge cutting across the bottom right of the last one is something you don't want in your images.

  5. #5
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Hi Clive, I love taking night shots but don't get the chance much these days. Let me throw a couple of comments your way for consideration. These are not so much rules that must be followed as things to think about when you are planning your photo-shoot.

    Night shots taken on a tripod provide a wealth of shutter speed/aperture setting combinations so unless you are looking for a narrow DoF, the best aperture for sharpness is 2-3 stops from the smallest opening.

    The camera’s metering system can be fooled by the extreme contrast of night images so it is best to bracket your shots and either merge the images or pick the best one of the set.

    Like daytime images, we either need a primary subject or a pleasing pattern of shapes and lines. As I look at these four images I ask myself what is the subject? Is there an interesting pattern of shapes and lines?

    Visualize each of your images as if it was a day image. Does it tell a story? Does it create an emotional response? Would you expect the scenes to create a different feeling because they are taken after nightfall?

    Some people prefer to see lines created by headlights and tail lights and this sometimes works. I prefer to time my shots to minimize these lines as I find them to usually be distracting. You can hold the lens open with Bulb and use a black piece of paper or cardboard to cover and uncover the lens. This can give you a lot of control over everything from car lights and stop lights, to objects that move into and out of view that would cause ghosting.

    Whenever possible, I prefer to have a dramatic sky produced by the setting sun or moon & stars and/or clouds illuminated by the setting sun or moon. One of my favorite times to shoot night scenes is just after a storm passes through. Not only can you get a more dramatic sky, but the reflections off wet streets can pick up building lights and even the sky.

    If you have the capability, night shots are excellent for HDR processing.

    You can use darkness to add mystery to an otherwise ordinary scene.

    I hope this gives you something that can you can use to overcome some of the shortcomings you feel need to be addressed.

  6. #6
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Nice attempts, Clive: very sharp all of them.
    I think you've chosen a difficult subject: night pictures and city lights are difficult to combine: you either overexpose the lights or underexpose the overall scene... In my opinion you could try underexposing one stop or more, so you would get darker backgrounds and some more detail and colour in the areas with light.
    I quite agree with the suggestion to shoot at dusk or just afterwards, to keep some detail in both areas before the contrast is too high to handle in camera.
    Failing that, you could bracket some shots and combine them afterwards (in almost HDR style)

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    The camera’s metering system can be fooled by the extreme contrast of night images so it is best to bracket your shots and either merge the images or pick the best one of the set.
    I agree with Frank's quote but I will usually combine 3-shot exposure bracketing with -1 stop EV. When my bracketing separation is one-stop, combining the bracketing with -1 EV provides the following three exposures;
    as the meter reads, 1-stop below the meter reading and 2-stops below the meter reading. The "normal" bracketing would give you a shot 1-stop above the meter reading which is usually over exposued in my night shots.

    Try this with your camera. Your metering might be a bit different than in my camera.

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Clive

    Can you talk us through what post-processing you did? There doesn't seem to be anything particularly amiss with the capture. So, I think what your striving for will be down to your post-processing skills.

    One point - In compositional terms, what I assume is some sort of ledge cutting across the bottom right of the last one is something you don't want in your images.
    Donald,
    thanks for your comments. as for post proccessing,i shot in RAW and only did WB and slight sharpening in photoshop ACR. i am new to using RAW so at the moment i tend to go a little overboard with the sharpening (work in progress) so on these shots tried to keep it to a minimum. see what you mean about the ledge,must have missed cropping it.

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by sabbath18 View Post
    Donald,
    thanks for your comments. as for post proccessing,i shot in RAW and only did WB and slight sharpening in photoshop ACR. i am new to using RAW so at the moment i tend to go a little overboard with the sharpening (work in progress) so on these shots tried to keep it to a minimum. see what you mean about the ledge,must have missed cropping it.
    Clive

    There are whole lot of, what I think are, really helpful comments have come into this thread since my last post.

    But on the specific question you asked and I responded to, I would confirm my earlier view. There's nothing wrong with the basic capture (but do study what the others have said). The vibrancy or 'pop' that you refer to is brought out through post-processing.

    You are absolutely on the right road in shooting in RAW. The frustrating thing about that in the beginning is the feeling that you don't have all the post-processing knowledge and skills to get the best out of the RAW data. But that it part of the learning curve and will come. Stick with it.

    You write about your experiences of sharpening. On a connected theme, and when you have time, go into the tutorial, here, on Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE). Still one of the best methods of getting that 'pop' into your images.

    I hope you don't mind, but just to illustrate what I mean. Here is your image and then a copy of it I made with LCE added. Is this the sort of thing you were thinking about?

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....


    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

  10. #10
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Photo at dusk, look everything his here:

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Photo at night, look no flare and black sky. It is all in the processing.

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    and hand held high iso

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    But it is hard normally, the middle one is HDR as is the first, but it is easier in the light.

  11. #11

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Clive

    There are whole lot of, what I think are, really helpful comments have come into this thread since my last post.

    But on the specific question you asked and I responded to, I would confirm my earlier view. There's nothing wrong with the basic capture (but do study what the others have said). The vibrancy or 'pop' that you refer to is brought out through post-processing.

    You are absolutely on the right road in shooting in RAW. The frustrating thing about that in the beginning is the feeling that you don't have all the post-processing knowledge and skills to get the best out of the RAW data. But that it part of the learning curve and will come. Stick with it.

    You write about your experiences of sharpening. On a connected theme, and when you have time, go into the tutorial, here, on Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE). Still one of the best methods of getting that 'pop' into your images.

    I hope you don't mind, but just to illustrate what I mean. Here is your image and then a copy of it I made with LCE added. Is this the sort of thing you were thinking about?

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....


    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....
    Will have a look at the tutorial Donald,i can see the difference from the 2 pictures. i will read/practice all advice given and hopefully improve.
    many thanks to all.

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    The biggest mistake people make when trying to shoot cityscapes is either shooting too early or too late.
    You only have about a 15 minute window and it's normally about 20 minutes after the sun sets. The whole idea is to balance up the exposure metering for the sky and for the foreground. I always shoot these shots using manual.

    First I decide what sort of creative exposure I'm looking for and decide either on an aperture or on a shutterspeed if I'm looking to blur motion or capture light trails.

    I then take a metering off the sky at about 10 minutes before sunset just to get an idea of where I am. This usually meters about 2 or 3 stops different to the foreground. I'll then repeat the exercise every few minutes until the two areas meter about the same. That's when I start shooting.

    I always bracket about 5 exposures and always use a low ISO (unless I need to freeze motion at a relatively narrow aperture when DOF is an issue). Bracketing gives me the option of creating intersting composites.

    Another essential tool is a graduated GND filter. Using one of these can save heaps of time in the PP department. There was some robust discussion in another thread about the merits of physical or digital filters. I use both.

    Personally, I think your photos have composition issues and the exposure times are too short. Stop your lens down a bit, use a low ISO (100 if you can) and increase the shutterspeed. You'll be amazed what sort of effects you get at F16 or 22 with a 1 or 2 minute exposure.

    Here are 2 examples. The second shot was taken about 10 minutes after ther first. I know which one I prefer. The longer you wait, the blacker the night sky becomes and then your image just looks like millions of other night shots.

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....
    Last edited by Markvetnz; 5th November 2011 at 01:34 AM.

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Many thanks for your info, your photos are tops, Ill be attempting to do as well when I have the opportunity.

  14. #14
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    I like Marks explanation, brilliant, but I prefer night sky to look dark as it does in reality. The idea I had about shooting at dusk is that I get a little detail and I could burn the sky.
    I can see the sense in apertures of f22 since detail isn't going to be great anyway, and the diffraction can make lights sparkly, but mostly I forget that and are freezing and in a dark public area, so I don't want to be hanging around, especially not for a convoy of cars.

    In mine I would prefer #1 to have a burned sky, #2 is exactly how it looked and #3 is a snap.

    In Marks I prefer the second, which I think is perfect.

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    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I like Marks explanation, brilliant, but I prefer night sky to look dark as it does in reality. The idea I had about shooting at dusk is that I get a little detail and I could burn the sky.
    I can see the sense in apertures of f22 since detail isn't going to be great anyway, and the diffraction can make lights sparkly, but mostly I forget that and are freezing and in a dark public area, so I don't want to be hanging around, especially not for a convoy of cars.

    In mine I would prefer #1 to have a burned sky, #2 is exactly how it looked and #3 is a snap.

    In Marks I prefer the second, which I think is perfect.
    Steve, I think your shots are great. I wouldn't change a thing with them.

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    San Francisco, April 2002

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Golden Gate Bridge, the most beatiful construction I've ever seen.

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Bay Bridge, near San Francisco Port.

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    From such hill.

    Fuji Velvia. Unfortunately, I didn't write down exposure parameters. In first two cases it was simply measured on the water.

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    A Night in Himalayas

    1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    This picture was taken at about 730 pm in Himalayas at a height of about 11000 Ft above sea level.......with Nikon D90 18-105 mm VR lens hand held F 4 and shutter speed at 1/6s
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 10th November 2011 at 08:12 PM.

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    Re: A Night in Himalayas

    Thank you Keith........

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    Re: 1st ATTEMPT AT NIGHT TIME PHOTOS....

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Night photo's are hard; so when I go to the trouble I tend to shoot at dusk, and then make it look like night. I like the pond the most but traffic lights are good.
    Steve:

    Many years ago I read that night time pics were best shot at dusk/twilight. I've done it, and it works better than full darkness. The only drawback is that the time is limited (like sunrise and sunset, twilight is transient).

    Our eyes have a much higher dynamic range than our cameras do, so we see details in the dark that the camera can't capture. At twilight there is less dynamic range so the shadow areas have a bit of light; however, the lights still look bright without being overexposed as badly. And the lights give the illusion of night time.

    Another thing I learned by accident - I was shooting a city streetscape in the rain (from inside a vehicle) in my beginner days, hoping to get something useful. The rain on the pavement reflected a lot of light, and the whole scene lit up quite well. I think we should take our cameras out in the rain more often; for this I use a Kata E-702 rain cover.

    Glenn

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