Night Photography

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

  1. swmocity

    swmocity TPF Noob!

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    For some reason i am starting to come obsessed with night photography...the glow from the lights have a nice look to them..dont know if i posted these before, but they were from when i was at the beach a few weeks ago


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    [​IMG]



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    3.
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    4.[​IMG]
     
  2. bullitt453

    bullitt453 TPF Noob!

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    I've never tried much night photography. Would like to sometime though.

    #1 would be wonderful if it weren't for that sign and there may be a little bit too much empty space at the top. Not really feeling the others though.
     
  3. swmocity

    swmocity TPF Noob!

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    lol yea i know i tried...i had no choice because of all of the trees that were in the way...forced me to aim high...i used the 75-300 lens
     
  4. Snyder

    Snyder TPF Noob!

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    You should fix your WB to the lightsource you are capturing.
     
  5. Robin

    Robin TPF Noob!

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    I think WB is different when it comes to night photography. Because your light sources are often a mix of color temp, it's usually more acceptable to just allow the colors to come through.
     
  6. Snyder

    Snyder TPF Noob!

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    Then custom WB your camera if you have a mix of color temp, sometimes it work having the WB off and sometimes it doesnt.
     
  7. swmocity

    swmocity TPF Noob!

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    mmm i see...i just purchased "understanding exposure"...everyone has been talking about its such a great book...i had to get it...hopefully it will help me get better
     
  8. johan.sie

    johan.sie TPF Noob!

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    wow share on the book for us once you dip yourself in =)

    i seem to start liking the night photography as well, apart from the light thingy .. i enjoy those light trails from cars those are just so enticing to me ..

    here's my beginner attempt similar to something you had :) all these are unedited version:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




     
  9. swmocity

    swmocity TPF Noob!

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    wow the seond one is nice...where is that?
     
  10. Robin

    Robin TPF Noob!

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    Well, many people believe there is no "right" WB setting for night photography - because a lot of people are used to seeing night photography on daylight balanced film. But I guess it's really a matter of opinion what sort of color temp you like in night photography.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have been obsessing over night photography for some time now. I've taken and re-taken the Boston skyline pictures about six times trying to get it absolutely perfect. These are my most recent, and I think I have it almost dead-on.

    (hope you don't mind my sharing in your thread)

    ==1==
    (there is one post processing goof on this one because I did it at 2:00am, but I just need to tweak it... I'd be amazed if you can find it. :) )

    [​IMG]

    == 2 ==
    [​IMG]

    == 3 ==
    This one is my hands-down all time favorite night shot. (again in Boston- the cities are always great for night shots) Forgive the god-awful watermark... I'm rushing this morning. :)

    [​IMG]


    Some things I've learned about night photography that may be handy for you:

    1. A tripod is really really helpful, particularly in wind.
    2. Be aware that a cheap tripod won't hold up against wind that well.
    3. With some lenses a smaller aperature will give you the nice stars that you see on some of my pics. (OP, I see your shots have that too... more than mine by quite a bit on that first one)
    4. A remote shutter release is a great friend on these trips, and can be had reasonably inexpensively. (don't buy the $15 cheapos... I've lost 2) If you don't have one, you can do a timed shutter release, but it really slows you down and does have a small increased risk of camera shake.
    5. You have to do the tradeoff between stars and crispness of the lens, so play with it to get as close to your lens sweet spot as possible and still get any level of star effect you want.
    6. MANUAL FOCUS... omg. Can't stress this enough. Not so much a problem if you are taking a picture of a nearby "well-illuminated" subject, but for anything else you want to focus to infinity to get everything sharp. (unless you dont want it sharp) (johan, you will see if you look closely that your focus is actually a touch off... sorry, just using you as an example)
    7. You want to figure out where infinity is on your lens... not all lenses are marked, and the ones that are marked are not always dead-acurate. Experiment with it and get to know your lens. (always a good idea anyway)
    8. RAW is KING in night photography, and I don't give a bag of wet mice what anyone else says on this- trust me here. You have stupid amounts of weird light at night of all different sources. The LAST thing you want to be doing with your time is futzing with white balance. Get your shot with good exposure and composition and move on to the next one. Fix the WB in post-processing. You have reasonably limited time on night shots, don't waste it.
    9. Again on WB: I feel pretty strongly that incandescant light (the yellowish cast you see on a lot of shots) is eeeeeeeevil. I understand that people want the "real effect" from night shots, but here is the trick... did everything look horribly yellow to you when you were on the scene? No. Incandescant lights certainly are very yellow, but people's brains correct for that naturally, so you have to actually look pretty hard to see yellow when you are on the scene... so in the end, your pictures look way different than what the eye sees. Certainly if you LIKE the yellowness, keep it... I think it looks like a mistake, personally. (no offense, mind you)
    10. Weather is very important on night shots. Humidity and air quality are going to come into play a lot because on a longer exposure any haze effects are going to be amplified significantly- esp when dealing with skylines. Be aware of what the weather is like and how it will effect you. (haze isn't always bad... I have another shot thats filled with fog and it looks awesome. I'd post it, but I think I've posted enough shots in YOUR thread already.) :lol: This site is incredibly handy for getting a good sense of your weather conditions.
    11. DONT FORGET YOUR PERSONAL SECURITY. You are walking around in the dark with hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars of equipment, and a good bit of your time is going to be focusing, where? Your camera! What's more is that photographers always attract attention, so people will know you're there and that you're up to something. It's a very good idea to bring a friend, and if you are alone, be constantly aware of who is around you, what direction they are going in, what their posture is, etc. I carry a very large metal flashlight with me when im doing this and I almost always have it in my hand.
    hmmm... is that it? It's all I can think of off the top of my head. :lol: If I think of anything else, I'll post it tonight after my 12 hour car trip. (Ack)
     
  12. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Some excellent advice there manaheim. I would personally say that a decent tripod is more than helpful to have but mandatory for these kinds of shots. I would also suggest using mirror lockup on the long exposures if it available to you.

    I love night photography but have not had an opportunity in a while.
     

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