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Thread: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

  1. #1

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    How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Hi,
    Been reading for a while about star /night shooting. I don't remember seeing how long the subject needs to be lit?
    Going out tonight to try star shots and some trails, 1st attempt. There is a great dead tree that I think would look dramatic in the photo but do not know timing of it. I only have a flashlight, no fancy equip, and no PP to speak of...
    I am at a dark campground and moon rise is a little later tonight.
    I do have a Nikon 7000 since May with 11-16, 2.8 a 35 1.8, and 55-300 4.5-5.6.
    Using a tray stand for a tripod :{ and no filters yet.
    Any help appreciated.
    Nancy

  2. #2

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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    No suggestion to really help, however just play have some fun maybe suggest 30 sec. as you may not have a cable release to use the bulb function. Try different settings (f stops) go maybe with the 35mm. Then show us what you got am interested in seeing as I am thinking of trying it also.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Hi Nancy,

    I haven't tried this myself yet, but hope to shortly.
    I think trial and error is the answer to an eventual successful outcome.

    From memory, I gather the stars will begin to smear into lines at much over 30 seconds (although it depends how wide angle your view is, how visible this will be).

    If you want the moon in shot, you will have to shoot that separately because it will be hopelessly over exposed at 30 seconds. The moon is (fairly close) a sunlit object and needs almost daytime like exposure settings, unlike the stars. It also moves quite fast and may be noticeably elongated at 20 seconds.

    I would start with Allan's suggested 30 seconds to give you time to 'paint' the tree.

    Good luck and do post us the results.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from .....

  4. #4
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    These settings work for star trails.

    ISO200
    Aperture 7.1
    exposure 4 mins
    Long exposure noise reduction off
    White Bal 3700 for moonlight
    Use an intervalometer to shoot upwards of 50 to 100 shots (takes time - I know)
    Stack the shots using Russell Brown Stackomatic script for PS


    Light painting - about 30 seconds on a 4 minute exposure should work ok, depending on how bright and consistent your passes are.

    Here is a cool tip for night photography.
    I always take a test shot at ISO6400. There is a direct relationship between minutes and seconds between ISO 100 and ISO6400.
    IOW - 15 seconds at 6400 is equivalent to 15 minutes at 100.
    Lets assume you want to try 4 mins at ISO 200. This would be 8 mins at ISO 100. Therefore take an 8 second exposure at ISO 6400 and you can quickly see if you are right or not.

    Astrophotography = to see galaxies. 12 seconds F4.0 0r 2.8 ISO 6400 LENR onn

    Single exposure star points = 10 seconds, ISO 1600, widest practical aperture (2.8 to 5.6), LENR onn
    anything over 12 seconds and you will get star motion artifacts. Always shoot a foreground shot and a sky shot and blend them in PP.

    Star trails using single exposure
    LENR on, f7.1 to f8, 5 to 45 min exposure, use the highest ISO setting your camera can tolerate, 5d II = 800 or 1600, take a high Iso test shot

    Obviously you need to use a weighted tripod, no clouds and don't be tempted to touch the camera during the exposure.

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Again we have one of those threads that includes a reply (Mark's) that amounts to invaluable information and advice for anyone wanting to get into this sort of photography.

    I'm saving this for future reference when every anyone asks the questions.

    Just as an aside, or an add-on comment, some of have this week, being discussing an App that's available for Android, for Canon users, called the DSLR Controller. Through tethering an Android Phone of Tablet to the camera, this app can act as an intervalometer.

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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Again we have one of those threads that includes a reply (Mark's) that amounts to invaluable information and advice for anyone wanting to get into this sort of photography.

    I'm saving this for future reference when every anyone asks the questions.

    Just as an aside, or an add-on comment, some of have this week, being discussing an App that's available for Android, for Canon users, called the DSLR Controller. Through tethering an Android Phone of Tablet to the camera, this app can act as an intervalometer.
    Donald, I cannot remember if I mention this before so!! MagicLantern firmware (FREE) for Canon ONLY have just released a new version and it has an intervalometer inbuilt, you can set it to shoot as long exposure as you wish from seconds to minutes even hours (but hours would increase noise and sensor heat) I did 30 second exposures at one second intervals and this is my first attempt at night photography (Aug 2nd Full Moon) No additional light just the moon, F5.6 30seconds
    Russ
    How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

  7. #7
    victor's Avatar
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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Rusell,

    Please advise:

    1. Is this software specific to certain Canon cameras only.
    2. Unable to find a version for the 7D which uses dual logic processors.
    3. Any web links ?

    Thanks

    David

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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Quote Originally Posted by victor View Post
    Rusell,

    Please advise:

    1. Is this software specific to certain Canon cameras only.
    2. Unable to find a version for the 7D which uses dual logic processors.
    3. Any web links ?

    Thanks

    David
    See Here. http://www.magiclantern.fm/releasenotes
    Russ

  9. #9
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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Mark appears far more experienced than I, but I have started doing this recently, and I have a few suggestions:

    -- long exposure noise reduction (NOT regular in-camera noise reduction) works fine for star trails unless you want multiple shots too close together. (NR will take a second, dark exposure, making you wait.)
    -- While I use high ISOs for test shots, I generally then calculate exposure with a low ISO for less noise. The cost of this, of course, is longer star trails.
    -- You need some kind of remote release, and while a cheap cabled release works fine, it is really convenient to have an electronic timer. I just bought a Hahnel Giga Bit Pro II for this purpose, and re Donald's comment, it includes an intervalometer function, overlaying a second program on top of the first. I have not tried that function, however.
    -- The length of time needed to paint light depends on lots of things, including the ISO, the distance, and the brightness of the light, but sometimes a few seconds is enough. The only answer is trial and error. BTW, keep in mind that different lights have very different color casts. A halogen flashlight will have a yellowish cast, while an LED gives off much a much bluer light.

    I'll post one I did a few weeks ago. it's not a great shot, but it might be useful in terms of settings. This was a 2 minute exposure about an hour after sunset, shot at ISO 200, f/4.5. As someone mentioned, the length of star trails for a given exposure varies with focal length. This was 15mm (on an APS-C body).

    Dan

    How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

  10. #10

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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Thank you all for your help. I will soak It all in and try it.
    A thin cloud cover came last night, and is still here this morning, hopefully will be gone for tonight attempt.
    N

    Dan, I am at a lakeside campground similar to your photo. I graduated Duxbury High near you....

  11. #11

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    Re: How long to 'paint the light' on a night shot

    Hi Nancy,
    I finally got a shot of the big dipper last night( 3am ) using 60secondstimer. It was small but clear for my first attempt. On a tripod in the house thrrew the window. with a 25zoom. Its the most my camera can do.

    also adjusted the light max on as far as mine would go that I know yet.

    It was exciting to actually see something on the computer! Guess that means some info is absorbing.
    Just dashed out to try & get some sandhill cranes flying south.
    I missed saying that it was pitch black night except for the stars.
    bye,
    diane
    Last edited by Diane; 17th September 2012 at 02:29 AM. Reason: missed point

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