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Thread: Exposure Technique for Night Markets

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Exposure Technique for Night Markets

    I would appreciate any insight or tips regarding this type of photography.

    I am traveling to China in April. IMO, one of the most interesting characteristics of Chinese Culture is the night markets where everything is sold, especially food. I have seen very few really good images of this type of market and think that it is because the vendors and food are most often lit from behind with incandescent (and occasionally flourescent) lights.

    I want to use flash but, do not want to make it look like the stall has been lit with a flash. I am thinking that I want to use flash primarily as a fill to illuminate the vendors.

    I will be using a 40D camera and a 550EX flash which I intend to bounce into a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro (since there is no ceiling off which to bounce).

    I am thinking that I will shoot RAW in manual exposure mode with the flash in E-TTL. I am also thinking that I will place a filter over the flash head to balance out the color temperature (orange for incandescent and green for flourescent) between the flash and the ambient light. Then I can work with the color temperature of the entire image.

    The IS on my lens will allow me to get a sharp imagery at relatively slow shutter speeds and I don't think that I will have to go below 1/60 or 1/30 second at f/2.8 or increase my ISO far above ISO 400 or 800. The vendors are not moving significantly so IS should really help. Of course, I'd rather have a bit of noise rather than a fuzzy image. Noise can be corecetd with post processing.

    I am open for suggestions. I have inserted an image which illustrates the type of photography I am talking about.

    night-market.jpg
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    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 10th February 2010 at 12:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Exposure Technique for Night Markets

    If you use a very long exposure the photograph will show the market without the inhabitants, assuming they are moving at a moderate pace, you will need a tripod to capture the image.
    Last edited by Shadowman; 9th February 2010 at 01:05 AM. Reason: text

  3. #3
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: Exposure Technique for Night Markets

    I start by noting that I am no expert in flash photography. That said, your technique sounds about right but I suspect you may have to push your ISO some depending on ambient light. I agree that using manual with flash for fill is the way to go. You sound like you really know what you are doing but if it can help, this site has been very helpful to me: http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/

    Good luck

    Chuck

  4. #4

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    Re: Exposure Technique for Night Markets

    Hi,
    For this kind of shots I use ISO on "Auto" position from 200 till 1600 because the noise on my Nikon is ok.Day or night always RAW.I work with two flashes outdoor but not night(when the need for preserving "air"is on first place for me of course).About "White Balance"I recomand You an article from "Luminous Landscape"which explains the subjectivity of this choice more believable than me(I don't know to insert).
    Hoping that will be useful,
    Radu Dinu

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Exposure Technique for Night Markets

    Quote Originally Posted by Radu Dinu Cordeanu View Post
    Hi,
    For this kind of shots I use ISO on "Auto" position from 200 till 1600 because the noise on my Nikon is ok.Day or night always RAW.I work with two flashes outdoor but not night(when the need for preserving "air"is on first place for me of course).About "White Balance"I recomand You an article from "Luminous Landscape"which explains the subjectivity of this choice more believable than me(I don't know to insert).
    Hoping that will be useful,
    Radu Dinu
    I think a night shot can accept a light grainy look to it as long as it doesn't interfere with the overall image.

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