My first try at Night Stream

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mitsugirly, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    I've been looking at a lot of pictures on flickr and love the night streaming photos. They just look so cool. So, I thought I would try it tonight.

    It's cold, snowing and dark out...so, why not play around with some night shots. Now remember, I've never done anything other than point and shoot camera's and have no idea what I'm doing at this point.

    But, here are a few of the shots I took from both inside my house and outside.

    1) This was shot threw the window, so there is a lot of glare, but it was the first try.

    [​IMG]


    2) Got this one threw the window also of a car pulling away from my house.
    [​IMG]

    3) Decided to go out the the garage to keep from getting the glare from the window, but I think I was too far away and not high enough up to catch the tail lights going by. I liked the starburst effect that I was getting off the street lights tho.

    [​IMG]

    4) Decided to head back inside where it was warm and just deal with the glare one more time. lol

    [​IMG]

    I can't wait for the weather to get warmer and try some of a freeway on an overpass. I've seen some really neat one's of them being shot out the car with the main focus on the car as the lights pass by.

    So, did I do ok? Is there a better way to do this? I had the camera set on P and 30" f36 ISO 400. C&C Thanks.
     
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    I like the look of them.. The flagpole is really distracting though.

    I want to get some shots like this but i hate cold... I stay inside unless I have to go out:)
     
  3. kn4ds

    kn4ds TPF Noob!

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    Those are a good start...

    I would offer this suggestion - turn the lights off in the house to get rid of those reflections on the window.
     
  4. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    I did end up turning the lights off in the house, but still got a reflection from outside. You will see the double streak on the lights from the cars up a little higher on the ones I took inside. Also the reflection of the light poles in those as well.

    I didn't have a choice on the flag pole. I did make sure that the window muttin didn't get in the picture. I'll have to try this again another night when I can actually go outside at the proper angle and do it without being snowed on. I didn't want to get the camera wet.
     
  5. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Basically, never take pictures through a window if you can avoid it. :)

    Good technical start on the pictures, though. Now you just need to find an interesting subject point... the usuals are on bridges overlooking highways and such. Not terribly exciting, but cool if you happen to like this kind of shot.

    Your white balance is a little off, so you want to fix that (a bit yellow).

    Other than that, really, I think you're on the right path. Keep at it.
     
  6. LarissaPhotography

    LarissaPhotography TPF Noob!

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    My wife and I did some shots like this downtown St Louis right by the arch. Definitely fun.
     
  7. BHE

    BHE TPF Noob!

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    Cool pictures--I like #4 the best. What a difference when you're not shooting the picture through a window.
     
  8. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    manaheim:
    It's bitter cold out and snowing, so I know it wasn't a good choice to take the pics out the window, but I thought I would try just to see how it was done. :blushing: We didn't even know what settings to put it on, we just started shooting.
    Once we discovered how to do it, that's when we moved out into the garage and tried it so that we wouldn't get the glare.

    I agree on the bridges and overpasses...I can't wait for Spring to arrive to try it out.

    I'm VERY new to all this and don't know ANYTHING about these camera's, so bare with me....what is the white balance? What does it do? and how do I know when I need to adjust it? Are you talking about the snow looking too yellow? or the lights? Help me out here.

    BHE-#4 was shot inside threw the window. Only #3 was shot outside. ;)
     
  9. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

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    I've never done these, so I'm not sure if this will work or not, but IMO I like the ones that are darker. SO the background is darker but the lights are still bright, so it makes the lights stand out more, try doing ISO 100, or maybe ISO 100 and 25' instead of 30', but as I said I haven't done these shots, but I've always liked them too. Once I get a tripod, I'll be doin them alll the time, lol
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Totally understand on the cold thing. :)

    White balance refers to the overall color of the image (aka temperature) as your camera sees it. The human eye/brain combination automatically adjusts our interpretation of light and balances it out so that it looks "normal" to us. A camera cannot do this (or at least not as well as the human eye/brain does). Therefore, pictures taken under certain light will appear yellow or green (or whatever) depending on the source of the light. This is why most pictures taken indoors at night look yellow. (assuming no flash is used)

    You can adjust the balance of color in an image in post processing to compensate for this effect to make the colors look more normal. Night photography is often particularly challenging because there are often many colors of light to contend with and you need to balance it all out.

    The best thing to do with night photography is take the pictures in RAW mode and then use a RAW processor such as Adobe Camera Raw (comes in Photoshop) to get the settings just right with minimal loss of quality.

    If you're bored, search on my name and "night" and you'll find a lot of threads where I provide tons of more specific advice based upon particular images taken. I'm a bit of a night photography addict. :)
     
  11. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    manaheim-So you are saying that I don't adjust the white balance on the camera itself? Just do it after I've downloaded it onto the computer and adjust colors?

    I took the photos in RAW/JPEG mode. I don't exactly understand what RAW vs JPEG means other than several people (friends) have said that's the best to shoot in, so I've just left it on that setting.

    As for Photoshop...I have PS3 and can't find anything within it that says Adobe Camera Raw. I've opened up photoshop and can't find it, nor can I find it in my programs. Am I missing something? Also, there was a CD that came with the camera...which I'm not sure what I'm suppose to do with it. I've tried putting a picture in it and adjusting it, but they will all be "grayed" out and you can't click on them. So, I'm confused.

    Thanks for all your advice...I appreciate it. This is going to be a fun learning experience.

    *edit* Ok, I did the search and went threw almost the entire first page of post. However, it's not doing me too good because most of the pictures people posted are gone or deleted. So, I can't really see what the pictures looked like and what corrections you had for them. :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^^ sorry on the corrections for older posts. Can't help there, I'm afraid. :) People whack their pictures sometimes.

    As far as Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) it launches automatically when you double click on a file with an NEF or other RAW file extension. If you're shooting Nikon, it's NEF. I have no idea what the other cameras shoot.

    On the RAW/JPEG mode, it's recording one image as RAW and one as JPEG. Two recordings of the same image. JPEG is a lossy compression format, which means the camera makes interpretations about what it thinks the image SHOULD look like, and then tosses any "extra" data that it doesn't think you need because you can't see it anyway. (such as, for example, detailed elements in a section of the picture that are too dark to see at the exposure level it has chosen) RAW retains all of this information.

    Generally speaking... I tell new people to shoot JPEG and JPEG only. If and when you reach a point or a situation where you realize that JPEG has failed you, then you start using RAW ... either all the time, or on a limited basis depending on situations. Your choice.

    The problem is, you are shooting night photography, and night photography is very tricky on so many levels... it's best to shoot RAW as it gives you much more leeway in your corrections and adjustments. Capabilities that are SEVERELY limited when shooting JPEGs. So my recommendation to you would be to shoot JPEGs 99.999999% of the time, and flip to RAW when working with night shots.

    Why not RAW all the time if it's better? Simple. It's very complicated and very annoying for new folks to get used to. When you're already struggling with just so many other things on the camera, layering figuring out how RAW works on top of it is HORRIFIC. Don't do it to yourself. (Not to mention the file sizes are huge... if you're shooting RAW/JPEG now you are getting a LOT fewer pictures than you would with just JPEG)

    On the color balance thing- for night photography, I recommend doing the color balance in post processing only. The camera tends to have a hell of a time with the mixed colors and gets it wrong, so you may as well tinker with it later at your computer. Particularly when it's 2 degrees out. :) I happen to do all of my shooting in RAW, so I never worry about color balance, but in a lot of other situations your camera might handle the light colors just fine. It varies. I find Nikons tend to have huge issues with incandescants for some reason.
     

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