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Thread: night shots

  1. #1

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    night shots

    im looking for some advice with night shots, no problem getting them but take last night as an example.
    i go out and shoot some pics of the reflection of the moon on the waves, about 15, 20 seconds, low iso etc.
    now really the question should be on post processing them, as when you do you lighten them so you can see the details etc, and this in the end seems to turn them more into day shots with stars.
    so how to keep the night time atmosphere?
    i find low light no moon shots easier as you're after seeing just stars anyway, but where there in a reflection it cant go to bright, hope you get my meaning on this, ill attach a pic later to show what i mean.
    looking for some pp help (i think )

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: night shots

    I would post what you have with no processing so that folks can offer suggestions about the specific image Mark.

  3. #3

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    Re: night shots

    ok....gulp and big intake of breath, i know these are not great photos, i have no problem with doing dark shots,street lights at night/stars etc, it the full moon i have a problem with, it just seems like i said daylight with stars?
    night shots

    night shots

    night shots

    sorry forgot to add i did crop them!

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: night shots

    I've found in a couple I've done; bumping the colour temperature up works a treat. But I usually don't use much fill light.

    night shots

    night shots

  5. #5

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    Re: night shots

    you are right there steve, it works great with lighting etc, seems to give a better darkness to it, it does work with the moon glow but not as much i think, camera raw 7 has lost the fill and recovery sliders though, less i have, just got this version

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: night shots

    There really is no right answer here, as there is a great deal of difference between what the human eye picks up and what the camera's sensor records. The eye has two light cones, that give us colour vision, and rods that give us our night vision. If I remember around four percent of the photoreceptors in our eyes are cones, and vast majority of the receptors are rods, which means at night, we see in black & white,

    The second issue is that we tend to have mixed light sources at night, so choosing a particular colour temperature for the scene is very much a judgement call. We know our eyes don't see it that way, so we may as well come up with something pleasant.

    The third issue is going to be exposure and how we intend to display the image - again a judgement call on the amount of detail we want to show in the final image. Too dark and there is nothing to see; a RGB value of 0-0-0 is not going to be particularly interesting, even if it is accurate. I try to expose to get as much data as possible, the histogram is my guide. It is always easier to eliminate detail in PP than trying to build some that isn't there.

    night shots

  7. #7
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    Re: night shots

    Hi Mark, I think one of the things you need to be sensitive to about this image is the light source. Unlike most night shots where there is either manmade or other strong sources of lighting, here you have only the reflection of the moonlight, a few stars, and a single pinpoint of red. For this scene to look correct, it must be relatively dark as your histogram shows.

    I tried to see if the overall view of the image could, at least in my mind, look a little more appealing but there was not much that could be, or needed to be done. Here it is with a little noise reduction, a twinge of luminosity, and a more seascape crop. This is my view so it may not satisfy anyone else's sense of how it should look.

    night shots

    In this view it isn't clear that the moon is providing the bright reflection but that may simply add an air of mystery to the image. I'm also thinking that I should have gone just a hint darker.

    Perhaps a suggestive title would also help convey the mood - Something like "Midnight Stroll"?
    Last edited by FrankMi; 28th September 2012 at 09:29 PM.

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    Re: night shots

    You can lighten or darken, saturate or de-saturate, any parts of the picture you like with washes applied as with a paintbrush. I use Helicon software, where these tools are listed in the Retouching menu, but I am sure the more common Photoshop must have very similar capabilities. So just keep at it with the paintbrush, imaginatively compensating for the camera's limited dynamic range until the picture looks the way you want it to look!
    Last edited by Brocken; 28th September 2012 at 09:24 PM. Reason: typo

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    Re: night shots

    Hi Mark,

    I think that at times folks can get so caught up in the peculiarities of night shots that they forget the basics of composition & lighting -- and I think this might be the case here (sorry!). It's just that if I had to put my "finger" on it, I'd say that the scene is "boring" with nothing in particular that draws the eye -- and the lighting is flat and boring too - which for me is why the image just doesn't work (or in other words, we need to get those basics right before we worry about other less important things like processing choices.

    Incidentally, I was out shooting last night - I paid particular attention to choosing the composition and getting the lighting right ... and in my opinion the image STILL didn't work (some might think it's OK, but it's not up to my standard, and won't be going on my website).

    Sometimes rules are made to be broken -- but at other times we need to respect them.

    night shots

  10. #10
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: night shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Mark,

    I think that at times folks can get so caught up in the peculiarities of night shots that they forget the basics of composition & lighting -- and I think this might be the case here (sorry!). It's just that if I had to put my "finger" on it, I'd say that the scene is "boring" with nothing in particular that draws the eye -- and the lighting is flat and boring too - which for me is why the image just doesn't work (or in other words, we need to get those basics right before we worry about other less important things like processing choices.

    Incidentally, I was out shooting last night - I paid particular attention to choosing the composition and getting the lighting right ... and in my opinion the image STILL didn't work (some might think it's OK, but it's not up to my standard, and won't be going on my website).

    Sometimes rules are made to be broken -- but at other times we need to respect them.

    night shots
    Is that a 1Dx picture I think imagining where the light source is coming from is what is distracting me and if the forground was darker I would like it more.

    Yes indeed a tricky shot and I generally steer clear of tricky shots because a whole evening could be wasted.

    cheers for that Colin.

  11. #11

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    Re: night shots

    Hi colin, boring! Yes i quite agree but i dont have a problem with taking pictures with lights, like night streets etc, so i only had the boring sea one there to try and emphasise the kind of shot im trying to change, unfortunatly i dont think i can change them as much as i would like as the other shots here show, you almost need a daylight atmosphere to see stuff, simples really,lol. I was just trying to see if that was possible.
    Youre right as well mike, i was taking some nice "down the street pics at night on the seafront and the moon looked lovely on the water, but didnt translate well to a pic, was better to see than photograph

  12. #12
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    Re: night shots

    The moon is essentially a dull sun, same colour temp, same size, just not as bright.

    Therefore such photos look almost exactly the same as a daylight shot, often no defined shadows and as you say there are stars, but not that much different.

    So you have to find a good subject (as with any photo) and work with the differences, ie can you make the long exposure and related blurring of moving objects work in your favour?

    ______
    Rob

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    Re: night shots

    Quote Originally Posted by graynomad View Post
    The moon is essentially a dull sun, same colour temp, same size, just not as bright.

    Therefore such photos look almost exactly the same as a daylight shot, often no defined shadows and as you say there are stars, but not that much different.

    So you have to find a good subject (as with any photo) and work with the differences, ie can you make the long exposure and related blurring of moving objects work in your favour?

    ______
    Rob
    Hi Rob,

    Your Username seems familiar - were you using it Photo.net by any chance?

  14. #14
    graynomad's Avatar
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    Re: night shots

    I had to go and check

    Looks like I am a member but have only posted twice and that was back on 1999. I've not been that active on photography forums I guess. I spend most of my time on electronics forums and am well known on a couple of them, my photography has been pretty active over that time, just not much involvement in photo forums.
    Last edited by graynomad; 3rd October 2012 at 01:44 AM.

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