My first Landscape pics (at night)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Hallvard, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Hallvard

    Hallvard TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D100) a couple of weeks ago, trying to learn as much as possible. I like experimenting with slow shutter speeds, and since I don't have any ND filters (and since I stay up late anyway) I've been taking a few pics at night lately.

    Any constructive criticism is of course welcome.

    The only lens I've got at the moment is a sigma 28-300mm, but I'm saving up for a 10-20mm.

    I feel that many of my pics is not as detailed and sharp as they should be. I know I'm not using pro equipment, but I'd like to get the most out of what I've got, so suggestions to improve my images regarding settings etc is very welcome. I've shot all the pics at 200iso (the lowest my camera can go)

    I have done very little post editing, some cropping and levels. I feel quite confident with photoshop as a long time user, so I want to focus on getting it right in the field.

    click on the thumbnails to view large version.


    First one: 25sec, f/25 iso 200 28-300@42mm. I'm a bit unsure about the f-setting. I've been using this to 1) be able to use slow shutter speed without over exposing and 2) to keep more of the picture in focus. Does the high f-number make it difficult for the camera to create sharper images?


    [​IMG]

    Second one: The same problems with details here, especially the rocks in the foreground. 30sec, f/25 iso 200 28-300@28mm

    [​IMG]


    Last one: This was one of my first pics, I think it would have been better with a slower shutter speed.. still the same problem with sharpness. Is it simply too dark to bring out the details? a bit under exposed as well, but I kinda like it. 30s, f/13 iso 200 28-300@50mm

    [​IMG]


    Thanks :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  2. timbearden

    timbearden TPF Noob!

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    I really like the images. However, it is just my personal opinion that you could adjust the midtones a bit.

    I took your images into photoshop to see what you did to the photos, if anything. I'm not going to post them, but from what I can tell is they don't have a lot of midtone. I moved the midtones (in photoshop it would be to the left) in the levels adjustment. For me it makes the images a little better. However, the risk would be making the images a bit noisy.

    A longer exposure would probably make the images a bit better. Realizing a photo with a 30 sec exposure is going to be a difficult image to make sharp. To many variables to take in (wind etc.). Often you can just gt lucky. Also, if you don't have the right lens that is also going to hurt you. From experience, the D100 is also not going to be as good as some of the newer models especially in log light.

    In summary, I do love the 2nd and 3rd photo. I think the second one can be lightened a bit and would be even better. The third one gets pixelated with adjustments. If you ever have the chance I would try do that same one (3rd) again, but with a little bit longer exposure.
     
  3. Hallvard

    Hallvard TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your reply, timbearden.

    I did adjust the midtones a bit, and it certainly helped - thanks. What I don't understand is how I can get this right while shooting - which settings defines this? they all turn out a bit noisy when I do it in PS.

    On pic 2, I also edited the clouds separately, as they were way too bright. I don't use any filters, but would say an ND grad filter help to get a more balanced picture? or is filters a no no at night?

    I was actually out fishing, so I just brought my cheap little tripod. I'm using a more sturdy tripod on 1 and 3, and I use 10 sec timer when I'm shooting with slow shutter speeds.

    All these places are local, so there's not a problem to shoot them again. I think I'll might wait until I get the 10-20mm, but I just dont wanna be too focused on equipment either :)

    you said longer exposures - 30sec is the max on my camera. and these ARE my lucky shoots - you don't wanna see the other ones :)

    thanks for your feedback, more comments are also welcome :)
     
  4. Computer_Generated

    Computer_Generated TPF Noob!

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    My laptop makes it hard to judge sharpness on these dark photos but from what I can see I'm loving 2 and 3 but 3 the most! To be honest I seem to have the same problem when using my packaged lens. I have a 75-300 that seems to take really sharp images, not sure what's going on there other than maybe poor quality to keep the price of the camera down. The only thing I can really suggest is that if you're going to be doing night photography and will be buying a new lens anyway, make sure you get that low f-number.
     
  5. Hallvard

    Hallvard TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your comments.

    I tried to bring out more of the midtones as timbearden suggested. I came up with this:

    [​IMG]

    Now, the rocks look even more unsharp, but maybe the conclusion is that I should have tried with some more exposure settings? I think I shot this at -1. I like the overall colours in this pic better, but I'll try to get another shot of it tonight or tomorrow as I really liked the composition.

    Computer Generated, I'm thinking about buying the sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM. The reason I've been shooting these pics so late (1am-ish) is because I live in Norway, and at this time of year it's only dark for a maximum a few hours! The 10-20mm hasn't got a particulary low f-number, does it?
     
  6. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    IMO, don't touch that photo #2. It's perfect the way it is. What do you want? The sky, dark water, and city with the rocks silouhetted in the foreground? Or do you want a shot of the rocks, with a city in the background?

    My vote goes for the sky as the most important element and lightening the photo taking away the color and the contrast of the sky and clouds destroyed that.
     
  7. timbearden

    timbearden TPF Noob!

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    I looked at the new edit, and I do see what you were talking about more noise. You could try somewhere in between. I still wish I could see the third one again, but a little lighter....however a new one, not the same one. Since, the picture you have may be too hard to edit. It's great though that it is local and you can get again.

    Is your camera programmable? I know some cameras have the option of programming a time, not being limited to the set 30 seconds. One option I wish DSLR's had that SLR's do, is the option to you a cable to connect to the button to take the photo. Because with film, you can set the shutter to be open as long as you hold down on the cable button. That way it also allows the photographer more control.

    Some one mentioned getting a low f-stop. When taking a photo, normally I would use a high f-stop if I wanted everything to be in focus. Since, using a low f-stop will cause the background to be blurry. However in this case, you are using an infinite distanct (so to speak) and therefore everything should be in the same depth of field. Therefore using a lens meant for a low f-stop could work, and also are a lot sharper. Also, this will allow more light in and would allow you to use a faster shutter speed. Also, you could change your ISO, but that might cause even more noise.
     
  8. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    That's on almost every DSLR, if you keep turning the dial, all the way up to 30/60 seconds depending on your camera, the next click should say something like "B" or "Bulb". Then use the cable just like on a film SLR.
     
  9. timbearden

    timbearden TPF Noob!

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    Good to note, what brand? Dumb Nikons don't have it (D60, D100, D200, D300, and I assume the D700) at least not a place to attach the cable release.
     
  10. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Nikon should sell a wireless infrared remote, that's how the other brands do it. There's no actual CABLE afaik.


     
  11. timbearden

    timbearden TPF Noob!

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    I totally forgot they had that, I was thinking of the wireless transmitter costing $700.
     
  12. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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