night photography questions

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by the_peel, May 23, 2004.

  1. the_peel

    the_peel TPF Noob!

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    Hi there,

    I'm new to this forum and just began playing with some night time photography in preparation for my trip next month to Europe. I am trying to focus on some night time pictures of buildings, so I went out the other night and did a few bracket shots. Here's the stuff I've been using:

    -Nikon F65 with Nikkor 28-200mm ED G lens
    -Fuji Superia ISO 400 film
    -used a tripod and no flash

    exposure times after dark ranged from 8 sec to 30 sec. They were developed at Black's photography using 1 hour processing. Subjects were buildings that were lit up by some spot lights aimed at the building.

    After development, I noticed that the dark areas of the photos (sky, the ground in front of the building, etc.) were very grainy. I am really not happy about the amount of grain showing and was wondering if any of you have tips, ideas, or can help explain to me what may be happening... should I use an even longer exposure (ie: greater than 1 minute)? Should I switch to a slower film (possibly 100 iso)? Please help! Thanks so much!
     
  2. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    I would try switching to ISO 100 film. The reciprocity breaks down slower with slower film, so it is more reliable for long exposures.

    A lot of time the grain in dark spots is due to extreme underexposure (or it has always seemed so to me). How much did you bracket? I'd try a minimum of +/-2 stops.
     
  3. malachite

    malachite Heavily Medicated For Your Protection

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    Eliminate the exposure compensation of others (printed film) by shooting slide film. Stick with 100 ISO or slower like Fuji Velvia (50 & 100F), Provia, or Sensia. I used to use Kodak Ektachrome E100SW but they don't make it anymore and I have yet to try any of the newer super saturated films they have. Rule of thumb for color casts produced by reciprocity failure is Fuji will produce blue/green and Kodak goes orange/yellow.

    Make sure you bring lots of batteries for your camera as newer cameras without a mirror lock-up will eat em' away in a matter of just a few exposures when you're dealing with times of 30 seconds and up.

    Nocturnal photography is a whole subculture of it's own if you really get into it. I've just gotten back into it recently and really enjoy the "less is more" when it comes to equiptment...........
     
  4. the_peel

    the_peel TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. I don't have any experience with slide film, so I think I'll try ISO 100 first. I've been bracketing a maximum of 1 stop, so I think I'll also try playing around with +/- 2 or even 3 stops.

    Since drlynn mentioned grain in dark spots is normally due to extreme underexposure, I think I'll have to start playing with exposures > 30 sec. which will be lots of fun! :)

    Currently, I'm not too concerned with color casts... I'm more interested in avoiding the ugly graininess of the dark areas of my photos. Once I nail this, I'll start playing around with color casts.
     

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