Night photographs: Some questions!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Pablo90, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Pablo90

    Pablo90 TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys, let me introduce to you: My name is Paolo and I'm a Swiss guy ;)

    I would like to ask you some advices about night shots :D

    How can I take a picture of a landscape and get a deep-dark sky and clear lights?

    Here is some examples of my results (these are NOT my pictures):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/Los_Angeles_Basin_at_night.jpg

    What I would like to have (maybe it's too much, but sth like that):
    http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs37/i/2008/247/7/0/Los_Angeles_at_night__by_TrashyDiamond.jpg
    http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/005/7/d/Los_Angeles_at_night_by_Gregro.jpg
    http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs45/f/2009/103/4/c/The_City_of_Angels_by_Arenon.jpg
    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs32/f/2008/197/c/e/2008_07_08___Downtown_LA_1_by_rubixcu8e.jpg


    My camera: Nikon | Imaging Products | Product Archives - Digital SLR Cameras : Nikon D40

    Thank you in advance, Paolo
     
  2. Alan92RTTT

    Alan92RTTT TPF Noob!

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    You want a picture taken with a small aperture(large F number) and a long shutter time.

    [​IMG]
    This was taken with an 8 second exposure and aperture set to f13.
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first thing you are going to need is a tripod as you will be looking at exposures that are in the 5 to 30 seconds (maybe more) range. So you need something that keeps the camera 100% still while the shot is being taken.

    Then next thing to look at is ensuring you have a low ISO. ISO is usually raised to a higher number when you aren't getting a shutter speed that you are happy with. The drawback is that the image will be noisy. But when shooting on a tripod, you dont care too much about the shutter speed. So to get something as crisp as possible, you need to keep a very low ISO, around the 100 mark.

    The last bit, as suggested above, is a small aperture / larger f stop. As the f stop controls the depth of field (if you dont know what this is, google it) and you want a deep dof for your shot to ensure that everything is in focus. I usually have an f stop between f/8 and f/16.

    An option accessorie is a cable release or remote release. As you are striving for not moving the camera (hence the tripod), even the action of pressing the shutter button down can cause some camera shake. So getting a remote or cable release allows you to set off the shutter without hitting the button. A workaround for this is using the timer that you have in your camera to trip the shutter

    Good luck
     
  4. Alan92RTTT

    Alan92RTTT TPF Noob!

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    Even with the timer or a cable release their can be an issue. My D5000 is light enough that the camera will shake a bit just from the mirror moving.

    Their are two ways I know to adjust for that. Some cameras have a mode called "mirror lockup" that puts the mirror in position before you hit the trigger. My D5000 has a "exposure delay" once the trigger is fired the mirror moves and then the camera waits a second before opening the lens.
     
  5. Craig J

    Craig J TPF Noob!

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    I shoot night still photos with aperture priority and let the camera set the shutter speed. If I am trying to capture movement I switch to shutter priority and pick the speed. Everything that was already said still applies. Tripod, cable release, etc.

    Mostly, you just go do it. Try different things.

    Craig
     
  6. D-B-J

    D-B-J Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ISO: 320
    Aperture:14
    Shutter Speed: 25 seconds

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Nameless

    Nameless TPF Noob!

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    Another bit of advice, if your using a lens with VR, make sure you turn it off on a tripod. The VR itself can cause a little bit of shake.
     
  8. Marmeduke

    Marmeduke TPF Noob!

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    It's all about using a tripod. Be aware that even though shooting at night, artificial lights can sometimes get 'burnt out' with a slow shutter speed, ruining the shot. Make sure you take some test shots and get the right balance between aperture and shutter speed.

    If you ever want to freeze movement at night - perhaps people bustling around - it's tricky not to sacrifice some image quality, but either use the flash or increase the ISO (preferable).

    More detailed tips on night photography: Night Photography Techniques :D
     
  9. Pablo90

    Pablo90 TPF Noob!

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    First of all, thanks to everybody ;)
    Really nice of you all reply me in such a short time :thumbup:

    I'll try these "settings", and of course I'll take a look at the linked guidelines.

    Beside, I would like to congratulate on Alan92RTTT and B-D-J for the really nice shots ;)

    Just a last question: do you think my camera would work fine for a time-lapse? If I would like to take photographs from the afternoon to the night, how should I set it? Because, of course, I can't change settings while it's working (I was thinking of a 2 sec time gap between photographs)...

    Thank you again guys.

    EDIT: I was searching more infos on the depth of field, and if I got it right I should use a small aperture to take a photo of big open spaces, right? For example a city skyline with plenty of skyscrapers taken from far away...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  10. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Small apertures basically mean that more items in the picture will be in focus (close to far). A smaller aperture is a "larger" f/#. So, f/22 is a smaller opening than f/4. You may want to check out the exposure series at the link in my signature below for an overview of exposure. One of the articles is on aperture.

    Yes, typically for city skylines you want a smaller aperture, but you don't need to go really, really small. The shots below were taken at f/11. To see other settings I used, you can go to Timothy Bury Photography | Stone Arch Bridge and click on the "Photo Info" tab and browse through the images. Most were taken on a sturdy tripod, mirror up, and release cable.

    Edit to Add: Welcome to the forum! :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  11. Pablo90

    Pablo90 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, I had already seen your website -amazing pictures, seriously- but I didn't realize there were infos too.

    Thank you, Paolo.
     

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