Lights! Camera! Christmas! C&C

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by WilliamCA, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. WilliamCA

    WilliamCA TPF Noob!

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    My job affords me the great ability to drive around and see Christmas lights at night. This was my first real attempt at night photography. These photos actually cover about 3 days worth of photos. The pics titled FogNLights were the first pics I took on a very foggy night, the rest are taken on nights that are not foggy at all.

    In FogNLights i tried to use the flash on only a few occasions and as you can see all i would get in some cases is the fog itself!;) I thought that was cool, but not what I wanted. I used my car's interior light to fool the light sensor on my camera at times so i didn't have to use a flash at all. It worked sometimes, and sometimes not. But I had a lot of fun that night.

    The next two nights (X-Mas Lights) weren't foggy but i didn't use my flash the second night. Since I'm taking these pictures from inside my car, it's friggin cold, and i have limited time, I had to rush a little. So some of the pictures may be a little off. Last night I finally used flash. I don't think it looked very good, plus you can see the flash reflecting off the doors and windows of the houses. I used did the same house with flash and without so i could see a true difference with each.


    Camera: Nikon D40
    Lens: 2. AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm, 1:3.5-5.6 G2 and 55-200mm, 1.4 - 5.6 G
    Settings: No-flash, Flash, Night Photo, Aperture-Pro, and Shutter-Pro (FogNLights)

    Link to the album on PhotoBucket: WilliamCA_photo/Christmas Lights - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dionysus

    Dionysus TPF Noob!

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    you really need a tripod at night. photo 1 and two are way OOF. 3rd one looks like a snapshot w/out a subject. Is the subject the tree, or the candy canes?
     
  3. WilliamCA

    WilliamCA TPF Noob!

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    The whole house is the subject in the third picture. I used a flash to see how it would look. In fact the lights are the subject of many of my christmas pictures. As far as a tripod. I do need one, but here is the problem. I don't think people would appreciate me standing outside their homes at 3 a.m. with a tripod. Nope i don't think they would. Plus i do have some time restrictions with my job, so doing such a setup would be very hard. What i do need is some idea of what aperture and shutter speed i should use at night if i don't plan to use a flash.

    WilliamCA
     
  4. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Just get a monopod, it is cheaper, and easier for setup, or at least brace, longer exposures are going to be a blurry mess with out.
     
  5. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    There's just not a good way to capture long exposures without a tripod. Even a monopod isn't going to be stellar when you get down to really slow speeds that you need for getting the lights to look right, etc. It's possible that a wide stabilized lens could do the trick but I don't know.
     
  6. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    There's no setting you can use that will compensate for the need for a longer exposure time. Your pics will always look blurry if you don't use a tripod at night.

    [​IMG]

    That picture took 3.2 seconds to expose.
     
  7. El2

    El2 TPF Noob!

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    The first two are OOF and the last one looks like your flash fired. If you adjust the last picture's WB, exposure and crop out the car it would look nice.
     
  8. WilliamCA

    WilliamCA TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm...a monopod would definitely help with the shake, the same goes for the night photos.
     
  9. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Uhhh good luck keeping over a 1 second exposure still with a monopod...
     
  10. WilliamCA

    WilliamCA TPF Noob!

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    You may be right. I'll see what i can do. But by the time i buy a tripod the christmas season will be over! :(
     
  11. eccs19

    eccs19 TPF Noob!

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    Worse case - you could put the camera on your car. By far from a perfect solution, but I've done it in a pinch, especially if you don't want to worry about the time of doing a setup.
     
  12. Dionysus

    Dionysus TPF Noob!

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    if it were DIM light you can get away snapping pics from your car, while resting your arm on the car..but in LOW light situations like that, you will always need a longer shutter time...one that cannot be held steady with just a monopod.

    You CAN rest your camera on the car, but the angle will not always be the one you want...tripod is the only way, sorry that doesnt seem to be the answer you want, but it is what it is.

    EDIT:

    also it doesn't take as long as you seem to think it is to take a pic on a tripod. You obviously know ahead of time when you will be taking night photos, so when you go out, premount your camera to your tripod, at full extension. that way, when you find a place you want to take a pic of, all you gotta do is get out real quick...spread out the tripod legs...fix your settings and snap your pic. then just bring the legs in again, put it in your car, and go....i can snap a pic from arriving to departing w/ a tripod already mounted on my camera in about 1-1.5 minutes...way before anyone knows what that weird guy in the car is doing.
     

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