How to make car light trails?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stabo, May 19, 2008.

  1. stabo

    stabo TPF Noob!

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    Hello all. Any tips would be great. I have a canon 450D with kit lens and 50mm f1.8. Whats the best settings on my camera for this.Also what lens would you recommend ?
     
  2. noob873

    noob873 TPF Noob!

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    You need a tripod, and using manual would be best so you can set up the shutterspeed (its gonna be a few seconds long) and whatnot to what you need, use a low ISO and I usually use a deep depth of field (f15 or so). A remote is also recommended because any movement (even touching the camera) will show up in the picture.
     
  3. Rogan

    Rogan TPF Noob!

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    use the 50mm

    set it your aperture wide,
    shutter speed of 1 second or slower

    if ur close enuf use 2nd curtain flash aswel :)
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Of these two recommendations, you will get light trails if you follow noob873's advice. For you need darkness, a tripod (of course), a small (!!) aperture, a low iso, and very, very long exposure times. 1 second will not give you any really good trails. Even 4 rarely give you the length of lighttrails you will really like. Must be longer.

    For those who want to do this and don't have a remote (like myself) can set their timer, so after 10 seconds, the camera will start taking the photo without you touching it in the process.
     
  5. Rogan

    Rogan TPF Noob!

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    this is how i did the one in another thread of me shooting a star,

    set it to take after 10 seconds, got in position and had an expsoure time of 8 seconds
     
  6. stabo

    stabo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for replys. Do ye mean TV mode our AV? Sorry im a newbie
     
  7. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I personally was more thinking in the terms of fully manual ... but if you want to use AV mode then make sure you have a SMALL aperture (which means your f gets a LARGE number). The camera will then estimate the length of exposure, though it will have a hard time estimating in darkness in which you hope there will be a car coming that'll give you a light trail...
     
  8. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It depends what kind of photo you want to take. If you're looking for the above a motorway, tons of trails from tons of cars, then use a tripod, put the self-timer on to 2 seconds, put the camera on TV mode, and use a shutter speed of between 8 and 20 seconds, depending on how busy the road is. you can also get some interesting shots playing with short-ish exposure times.

    If, however, you want to do the single car with it frozen at one end style, then choose a shutter speed of about 1 second and choose "Rear-curtain sync" flash. You might need to press the shutter yourself in order to get the timing right, so expect a bit of blur. This kind of thing will give you the car frozen at the end of the frame with light trails from the rear of the car (or front, if that's what you want)

    Now get out there and enjoy it!!! :D
     
  9. stabo

    stabo TPF Noob!

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    Thank Tamiya. Will do,just waiting for that sun to go down.:)
     
  10. Michael.McBee

    Michael.McBee TPF Noob!

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    Checkout this link:
    http://www.slrphotographyguide.com/light-trails.shtml
     
  11. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    I have done exposures of several hours length - used f32/f22 and 100ISO. Works quite well.
     
  12. djrichie28

    djrichie28 TPF Noob!

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    Plenty of really good settings advice. Here is a tip on composure. This is, of course, if you are doing a general road with many cars. Try and avoid starting your exposure while a vehicle is in your shot, especially on a multi-lane road. The shots look much better when the trails streak right through the frame, instead of some starting (or ending) somewhere in the frame.
     

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