How to focus well, in pitch black night (pic)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by cosmom3, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. cosmom3

    cosmom3 TPF Noob!

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    I could very well have a flash light, but there wasn't one around. Its the first time I've ever had to not use A/F, which is a good thing but annoying that it ruined the picture.


    Do you guys have any tips for shooting in such dark areas?

    Exposure: 255 sec (255) Aperture: f/8 Focal Length: 17 mm ISO Speed: 400

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    You can put the flash on, use it to focus, and then once it's focussed put it on manual and as long as nothing moves you will be set for some shots. Also try to look for points with a lot of contrast to focus on.
     
  3. aMac

    aMac TPF Noob!

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    Well with a landscape shot like that, it should be easy enough to set the focus manually.

    If you look around the focussing ring you should see two rows of numbers; one for meters, and one for feet, with a marker showing what the ring is currently set to. That's the estimated focussing distance, so if you know roughly how far away the subject is then you should be able to get a rough focus even without being able to see.

    For landscape shots like this, you should probably put the manual focus all the way to infinity (a number 8 on it's side) and try again.
     
  4. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    I agree with aMac. Unless you are taking a picture of something withing the distance your lens focuses on like 55m for example then just manually set it to infinity and you should be fine.
     
  5. cosmom3

    cosmom3 TPF Noob!

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    Alrighty, thanks guys.
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    You can focus on the lights.
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In this case, you would simply set the lens to infinity focus manually. Where subjects are closer you simply focus manually on the subject you want. Have 21st century photographers forgotten how to focus a camera lens?
     
  8. PlasticSpanner

    PlasticSpanner TPF Noob!

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    Agreed, use the range scale on the lens & set it to infinity.

    You can also set the aperture a lot smaller to bring closer objects more into focus at infinity.

    As a side note, can you take the picture earlier in the evening when the sky is still quite blue, but no longer daylight? It would drasticly reduce the exposure time, but you would have little chance of capturing any stars.

    Even if you wanted to capture the stars in your shot they would appear "trailed" with anything over around 30 seconds at 17mm.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    PlasticSpanner that would make it an entirely different photo :) I'd probably find it boring without the stars.
     
  10. cosmom3

    cosmom3 TPF Noob!

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    The stars were a focus, but more what I was originally going after was the placid looking lake. This picture was taken in Clear Lake California, the largest lake in the state. It may appear to be a short distance across, but it is actually a mile and half wide.

    I didn't want to necessarily take the best picture here, but maybe an interesting early morning shot. If it would of come out in focus I would have been pleased.

    Thanks for all of your guys comments and suggestions...I will be back there in about 2 weeks for another shot.
     
  11. cosmom3

    cosmom3 TPF Noob!

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    And just for the hell of it, heres a more boring picture I took while experimenting. Since I was trying to be so quiet not waking up the family, I just looked at the LCD and said "sweet!" and went to bed. Only to come home and be seriously disappointed.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    Same thing...just focus on infinity.
     

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