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Thread: Post Dark Photography

  1. #1
    arith's Avatar
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    Post Dark Photography

    It is really difficult to show the dark in especially reflective images, prints.

    So I would like this thread to be instructional from CiC members in how they did manage dark in their images over 1/5 seconds; why do it and how?

    This is a dark image and doesn't qualify:

    Post Dark Photography

    and this one does:

    Post Dark Photography

    a HDR with minimum speed 1.6 seconds.

    The whole idea is about longer than 1/5 seconds exposure.
    Last edited by arith; 14th July 2012 at 09:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    I would crop the light part of the sky from the top of the first picture that makes it look darker.

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Cheers Peter; it was quite bright and with a 3 stop ND filter I think the slowest speed was 1/50 sec.

    I take indoor shots quite a lot; the exposure is a problem as is white balance. Also the bottom is directly facing the light and I like black skys and darkness although others don't.

    Darkness can be imitated as above; which is what I mostly do, but if it is dark it is a real challenge.

  4. #4

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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Here is an image that could be considered dark photography, it was taken inside Notre-Dame Catheral in Montreal. It was shot at f22 to get a large depth of field, 360 seconds exposure (six minutes), it was taken like this as there were at times large numbers of people walking through the building, so this way I was able to make it appear that there was no one else there. The inside of Notre-Dame has very dark rich wood and very dark inside compared to most, I used a 4 stop ND to help slow the exposure time along with the f22 f-stop and ISO of 100. This is a pano of 3 separate shots each of 6 minutes in lenght and then stitched together in Photoshop.

    Cheers:

    Allan

    Post Dark Photography

  5. #5
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Allan,

    That is a briliant image. Your technique is fascinating and I cant wait to use it. I am amazed you were able to avoid blowing out the light from the windows, and your WB looks perfect on my monitor.

    Did you use a large guard dog to keep people from bumping your setup? You are giving me courage to be a bit more assertive in trying to capture some shots that I shied away from due to the folks around me. Thanks.

    PS: this image must be viewed enlarged in Lytebox to fully appreciate it

    Kevin
    Last edited by kdoc856; 15th July 2012 at 08:25 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Hi Alen
    I have to agree, this is a Stunning shot. A high degree of difficulty beautifully executed.
    Congratulations!

    Regards
    Philip

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Here is an image that could be considered dark photography, it was taken inside Notre-Dame Catheral in Montreal. It was shot at f22 to get a large depth of field, 360 seconds exposure (six minutes), it was taken like this as there were at times large numbers of people walking through the building, so this way I was able to make it appear that there was no one else there. The inside of Notre-Dame has very dark rich wood and very dark inside compared to most, I used a 4 stop ND to help slow the exposure time along with the f22 f-stop and ISO of 100. This is a pano of 3 separate shots each of 6 minutes in lenght and then stitched together in Photoshop.

    Cheers:

    Allan

    Post Dark Photography
    That is indeed a very fine image Allan. I've heard of this technique of long exposure to remove people but have never seen it done. I thought it would need even longer than 6 minutes.

    The only way I can estimate exposure is too bump the iso up as high as it will go and meter with wide open lens
    then work backwards to get 100iso. I've thought about getting an old Weston meter but hardly ever find anything requiring more than 25 secs or so anyway.

    How did you get the exposure and the white balance?

    The church above is HDR longest exposure 25 secs f6.4 but this below took hours because of coachloads of people despite the longest exposure being 15 secs

    Post Dark Photography

    I thought about using averaging; taking lots of shots at the same exposure and then stacking them with layer N opacity 1/(N+1), but thought I might still see ghosts. I much prefer your method Allan

  8. #8

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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Steve: Here is some more info on how I did my long exposure. When I when into the church I was able to setup my tripod, guessed a shot to start at f8 for 120 seconds, as I wanted to see the histogram, way to the right (overexposed), so went to f11 for 60 seconds, still to far, now f25 at 60 close then f25 at 30 sec closer, then f22 at 20 sec (f25 to f22 is 1/3 stop so 30 sec goes to 20 sec). Added a 4 stop ND filter so stay at f22, 20 sec becomes 5' 20" however 6 minutes is easier to time, and the 40 extra seconds would not make much difference, and it would move the histogram to the right only a little with no clipping showing. Test shot at that time was excellent, so it was ago to shoot. It probably took me close to 10 minutes to find that sweet spot in exposure time, but once found that was all that was needed.
    Attached is a site that I found with exposure times worked out then a in 1/2 st0ps and I use 1/3 stop. It is simple to make your own chart using that as a guide. I found that a chart from 0 stops to 21 stops best starting with 1/2000, 1/1600, 1/1250 and finally 1/1000 at 0 work down the page the 21 stops will give you times up 30 minutes. Print it out and keep it with you as a guide reference guide, to me it is like VISA, I do not leave home without it.

    http://manikphotographe.files.wordpr...05/chart-2.jpg

    Cheers:

    Allan
    Last edited by Polar01; 17th July 2012 at 01:08 AM. Reason: changed 4 to 40 typed

  9. #9
    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Allan, a truly great photo. I was in the basilica 35+ years ago and remembered it as blue and dark. Thank you for providing the technical detail for how you got the shot(s).

  10. #10
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    That is a really useful chart Allan, and a good description.

  11. #11
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    I will put another in taken in November 2009 on a Canon 10D. Unfortunately the best version has been deleted by Fotki but I found this on my HDD; I think I will have another look at the old HDD later.

    Lichfield Cathedral:

    24 images 6 in each folder timings from 15 seconds to 1/2 seconds and f8 28mm, each tonemapped and remaing 4 stitched and blended using free software.

    The camera was hoisted above my head and a gate after some test shots and then orientation guessed and waiting for visitors to move between shots.

    The cover hides a rather ornate window that is being restored and expected to be back in 2015.

    This is a BIG image

    Post Dark Photography

  12. #12
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Steve,

    Very nice, great detail. But is that moire artifact on the arches on the left? Is it an anti-aliasing artifact? I've only ready a little on this so I may be mistaken.

  13. #13
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Cheers Kevin. I can't see anything but it is crumbling. I don't think the 10D had an Anti Aliasing filter, so I suppose it could be that is what your seeing.

    Wait a minute after looking again; that is an artifact but it isn't there full size. Hit f11 then click full size in IE.

  14. #14
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Steve,

    You are absolutely right. In full size view, the artifact doesnt appear at all.

  15. #15
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    So that means it isn't camera: but because of lazyness on my part and not wanting to do anything like downsize, the CiC program fails.

    Actually it was an experiment; I think at over 16MB this is record size photo for this place. I will want to try to use my website for storage and display, but I don't know how to yet and are not into complicated or not stuff about databases.

    I'm not into difficult stuff anymore but the rules at GoDaddy have been changed to allow photo's.

  16. #16

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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Absolutely stunning shot Allan.

    Was'nt that the same cathedral that Celine Dion was married in? I was there a few times in my "camera is my head" days. Beautiful place. Now that I have a camera to help out the head, will return one day and do something with the toy. Your image and pointers will be great references. Saved!

  17. #17
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Hi Steve,
    Very interesting thread here Steve, I have an inclination for this type of photography.
    I'm a bit mystified about the table that Allan posted a link to, re the columns headed Optical Density and Filter Factor, I would be much obliged if it would be possible to get a clear definition of the table.
    Best Wishes, Pat.

  18. #18
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Alllan, Wow! That is an impressive shot. I find myself gravitating to long-exposure photography and that is an excellent example of an indoor setting. Thanks for explaining your process in finding the right exposure.

    Pat, I too am trying to wrap my head around the graph in the link. I'm assuming that the first 3 columns are different ways to say the same thing. e.g. a 3-stop ND filter is also called a ND8 or 0.9ND filter.

  19. #19

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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Pat and Patrick" you do not have to worry much about those two columns. When you purchase a ND filter it will not say 1-stop or 4-stop but instead will be maked 0.3 or 1.2 with 0.3 being 1-stop and 1.2 being 4 stops and so on. As for filter factor 0 being no reduction in light, 2 is reduces the amount of like by 1/2 compared to 0, 4 reduces the amount of light by a factor of 4 compared to 0, it just double the amount of light reduced for each step. When I made my chart I did not include those as they were not important sometimes too much information is worthless. I hope that helps some.

    Cheers:

    Allan

    PS. Patrick somewhat right a 3-stop is all know as a 0.9 ND filter but not as an ND8 the filter factor tells how many times the orginal amount of light has been reduced. As I stated that is one column to as they say in New York "Forgetaaa about it". I still cannot spell Sorry.

  20. #20
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Dark Photography

    Patrick and Pat; thanks for your interest. Normally I get the exposure by bumping up iso to say 32 00 then using the lens wide open; then just multiply the speed obtained say 1/30 @f2.8 to get 32/30 approx 1 sec @100 iso. If I want the hyperfocal distance that f16 gives I have to multiply another 5 stops or 32 x 1 sec approx 30 seconds.

    But how to take the exposure in the first place? I always use spot and normally overexpose the brightest spot by placing the needle under +2 or just to the left of it, but things get a whole lot more difficult if the brightest spot is way out of dynamic range.

    White balance is another considerable problem and I try to get the grey card to catch the main light but in any case 30 degrees turned away from the plane of the sensor. Noise however is a big drawback and you just have to ensure the grey card is well exposed without being overexposed.

    Another method will be to use photoshop and auto white balance does a good job but if it doesn't you just will have to play about with settings until it looks about right.

    In this one I didn't manage to get a grey card setting and auto didn't work; but I found an official picture of it on the internet and adjusted it to look the same

    Post Dark Photography

    Another thing; I don't know if anybody has noticed but images with one stained glass window and images with more than two appear to look natural. But images with exactly two stained glass windows don't. Or is it just me.
    Last edited by arith; 19th July 2012 at 01:14 PM.

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