Lack of Detail in Sunsets - Please Help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Palyriot, May 26, 2008.

  1. Palyriot

    Palyriot TPF Noob!

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    My favorite thing to shoot is sunsets and I've been bugged since I got my camera a month back that all of my pictures seem to have a lack of detail.

    You can see two examples here:

    http://fc03.deviantart.com/fs26/f/2008/147/a/6/Sunsets_by_Palyriot.jpg

    and here:

    http://fc04.deviantart.com/fs30/f/2008/147/0/5/Sunset_by_Palyriot.jpg

    When zoomed to 100%, it almost looks like noise, but the ISO is as low as possible, 200. Could it be the lens that I took the pictures with (AF-S 55-200 kit) or is my aperture too low, even though it's at F11. One other idea I have is that even with the 2 second timer, when I push the shutter down, it shakes a tiny bit and then seems to still be shaking when the picture is taken. I'm getting my remote in about an hour, so hopefully that will do something, but besides that I am stumped. The rest of my photos look very sharp, but the sunsets look horrible.

    Any advice would be great. Thank you.
     
  2. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try bumping up your ISO and, I am guessing you are using a tripod. You might also try doing some manual focusing as well.
    I shot this one at ISO400,f/8 in Apeture Priority. Granted it is a sunrise and, not a sunset. Remember at sunset the air is more unstable because the air is cooling too.
    http://Joves.smugmug.com/photos/280137141_ZY5sW-M.jpg
     
  3. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    The first is 1/400th sec, the second 1/5th sec. One at 217mm focal length, the other at 300mm! But, unsurprising, both show signs of camera shake resulting in the apparent unsharpness.

    Try again with a tripod, and the selftimer. And a shutter speed of around 1/300th.
     
  4. Palyriot

    Palyriot TPF Noob!

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    I'm a little confused on why I would bump up the ISO. To get a faster shutter speed? I accidentally took some pictures with the ISO at 800 and they were much worse due to noise. I am using a tripod and the timer, but like I said am probably shaking it a bit. I will try manually focusing, but it still doesn't seem like it's a lack of focus, because that would be some very ugly bokeh. It looks like the image was stretched to around 300% at 100%. What does unstable air do to my photo? Nice picture by the way.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Increasing ISO will increase the noise.

    The picture is basically underexposed.
    Playing with the curves a little and some noise reduction software, your results will improve with these pictures.

    If the camera was placed on a tripod and exposure time increased for proper exposure, you would have less noise in the future.
     
  6. Palyriot

    Palyriot TPF Noob!

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    I don't know where you got 217mm and 300mm. I'm working with a 55-200mm lens and the actual focal lengths are 200mm and 145mm. I guess you got yours for film after the crop ratio. I'm also already using a tripod and self-timer, but will be using a remote from now on.

    Thanks for your help.

    Will being underexposed result in them being less sharp? I know at higher ISO, being underexposed can cause noise, but I didn't think that would affect ISO 200. I'm really trying to get rid of the noise before I even put them on my computer. I don't care about fixing these photos, but preventing the noise in the future. I guess I really just need to work with a higher shutter speed. I guess until I figure it out I'll do a lot of experimenting.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    At ISO 400 you wont get the noise that you do at ISO 800. And as Alfred pointed out are you zooming out that much, that will effect your shot as well at lower light levels.
     
  8. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    From the EXIF data on your photos, Palyriot! Somehow I trust those.
     
  9. Palyriot

    Palyriot TPF Noob!

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    All I was saying is that those are the 35mm equivalents. The actual focal lengths are 200mm and 145mm and was confused at first how I would zoom to 300mm on a 55-200mm.
     
  10. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Well, anyway, those are the effective focal lengths you used on those photos, and those are simply very sensitive to camera shake, is all I'm saying. As your photos bear out.

    Perhaps you ought to experiment with a beanbag (and the selftimer), Palyriot. I'm serious. Guaranteed no swinging there! See if that makes a difference. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Have fun!
     
  11. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    If you're looking to bring out detail in the shadowed area, you'd need a 2 or even a 3-stop gradiated neutral density filter, or a Grad ND as they're commonly called. It'll help reel in the dynamic range of the scene you're trying to capture into something more reasonable for the sensor to record. I usually use a 2-stop grad ND filter on most of my sunrise or sunset shots and then bring up the shadow details as desired. Also if you're shooting from a tripod, make sure VR is turned off if any of your lenses have it. You also don't need a fast shutter speed or higher ISO when shooting from a tripod. The 2s delay should work, but the ML-L3 wireless remote would be even better
     
  12. PhotoDonkey

    PhotoDonkey TPF Noob!

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    Just curious, but what does turning the VR off do? Is that the same thing as IS?
     

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