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Thread: Night Time Photography

  1. #1
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Night Time Photography

    I did a 3 hour introduction course to night time photography around Edinburgh on Thursday in an attempt to try and improve my skills. The best two are here, although heavily cropped as in concentrating so hard on everything else, I let he composition slip and ended up with lots of dead space and distracting elements.

    Great fun and something I will do more of now I have the basics.

    1# "The Mound" - headquarters of the Bank of Scotland, established in 1695 by one of the last acts of the old Scots Parliament before the merger into the United Kingdom parliament

    Night Time Photography

    2# Light Trails on the bridges

    Night Time Photography

    C&C very welcome to support my learning.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Photography

    Here's a little trial for you as a follow on from clearly learning night photography well:

    1st shot is a 25 second exposure at f18. Presumably the tutor advised f18 or so to maximise your star bursts from lights. You have the traditional issue of night city photography - namely blown point sources of light and very little information in very dark shadows. You'll always have this to a certain extent. If you try to over expose to increase your shadow data you'll end up with larger blown areas around you point light sources.

    Now HDR is something that I personally dislike - namely the highly saturated grungy images you see. Sure, they have a place, but just not in my portfolio!

    However, a version of HDR can be very useful for night scenes, and give you a finished image close to what your eye sees on site - namely Exposure Fusion. There are a number of caveats though, the first being moving elements in the scene. Exposure Fusion software can remove ghosting, but people, cars etc can cause a problem when merging bracketed images.

    If you were to underexpose your 1st shot by around 6-8 stops, you'll have very little data apart from around the point sources of light. Moving up to 2 stops under exposed and you'll still have a lot of shadows which will be pure black. Moving to around 2 stops over exposed you'll have a lot more information in your shadows.

    Using exposure fusion (try a free trial of Photomatix Pro) you can blend the scene to average the exposures, and tweak in any way you wish. This will bring out your shadows, reduce the dead white 'space' around your point light sources, and give you a much more representative scene.

    In the first shot, I would probably have stopped up to around f8 for around a 5 second exposure as my base. Then I would set up a bracketed range of shots from around -6EV up to +2 EV in 1 stop increments. Blat through those quickly using a remote release and then process.

    Here are two examples - taken over a year apart as I was learning on different bodies, but of a similar scene - 1st as a single image, and the 2nd as a blend. Note also the extra micro contrast you can pull out with the blended file - have a peek with the magnifying glass and the viewing at full posted size and you'll see.

    1st image - f9 and 25 seconds at ISO100 on a D90 - the halos are caused by the very uncomfortable humidity!

    Night Time Photography


    2nd image - bracketed around a 6 second base exposure to bring out the shadow details.

    Night Time Photography

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Photography

    The second in both the above just blows my mind I always forget about shutting down the aperture, I sure know the effects but this also gives time for something untoward to happen.

    The HDR is good but the slightest vibration can soften the image, as can be caused by mirror slap or moving the speed dial, so I prefer to wait from dusk taking shots every ten minutes until it looks just about right.

    Metering I found to be very difficult; I always use spot because I'm too old to learn the other stuff. Fortunately a DSLR can take many photos giving instant feedback and this test shooting is the way I mostly have to go, although it is hard to see how to set up the base exposure for HDR doing it this way.

    I like night shots and the next challenge is to print them;sometimes it is easy but other times a nightmare to get the colours right.

  4. #4
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Photography

    Phil, thank you for the feedback and suggestions which I will most certainly try when I go out on my own and have more time to think and compose. Your shots are wonderful and I really appreciate you taking the time to demonstrate and explain.

  5. #5
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Photography

    Steve,

    thenks also for feedback. It's definately a bit of trial and error for me also at this stage.

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