night photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mwood, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. mwood

    mwood TPF Noob!

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    I will be trying to get some photos of a fire truck at night, but not sure how to go about getting the image I want.
    My fire hall has photos of all past engines, all shots at night, with the unit pulling out of the hall and emergency lights flashing. The image shows everything sharp, but the emergency lights are trailing (mostly blurred, some lighter spot strobes in the line of motion).
    How do I do this????
     
  2. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    he probably used a semi slow shutter speed. maybe about 1/100 and then cranked the ISO uup alot and used a fast lens.

    thats al you really can do to get shots at night...except use a flash
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Do the shot a little before twilight, use aperture priority (to get the whole truck in focus) and a negative value on your exposure compensation.

    Doing it just before dark will bring the sky's exposure down to where you can make it look like night by lowering the exposure compensation and still have the shutter speed to stop most of the action and remove the blur of the lights.

    You don't want to stop the action fully as you will want the wheels to be a little blurry to show action and increase the drama of the moment. You should be able to pull this off by having the truck just barely rolling. Play with it a little and you shouldn't even need a flash.

    Good shooting and thanks for the work you do!

    mike
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Tripod, tripod, tripod. ;)
    Then you do not have to care what the shutter speeds are, you can do multiple second shots and still have blur-free photos.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOLOL Unless the vehicle is moving -"with the unit pulling out of the hall and emergency lights flashing".

    I know you mis-read that. :)
     
  6. TUX424

    TUX424 TPF Noob!

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    You want to drop the ISO and put on a tripod, then you want to put the WB to tungsten. You want to have the camera is aperture mode.
     
  7. adamwilliamking

    adamwilliamking TPF Noob!

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    considering you are going for a desired effect that involves a specific shutter speed (which you are going to have to experiment to find which is creating the right ghosting for you). My point: letting your camera choose the shutter speed according to your cameras sensor is a bad idea, even more if you're not using spot metering.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If the camera is on a tripod, raising ISO is not needed at all. ;)
    WB... set to what you need not a fixed absolute setting, unless you are shooting in RAW in which case it is set in auto. What if it is underneath a set of white night lights? What if those night lights are yellow? This is one that cannot be predetermined unless you are on location.

    Aperture priority... maybe, but I would be in manual and be 100% sure that all my settings are where I want them. :)

    I know that if it was me, camera on a tripod in full manual, ISO at whatever the base number was (100 or 200), aperture at around F/8 (or smaller) so the whole truck was in focus and shutter speed... whatever is needed to get the exposure I want. My WB would be in auto and I would be shooting in 12-bit RAW becuase shooting in RAW gives me an easy 1-2 stops more dynamic range than shooting in JPG. That would give me a LOT more data to play with and recover the shadows to my tastes than if I was shooting in JPG.
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With the image sharp and the lights trailing it almost sounds like they used a flash. Any chance we can see an example of the other ones? (even if you have to use your camera to get a snapshot of one?)
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    My thought exactly. Sounds like rear curtain sync and a strobe. With a strobe or 2 (off camera) and your camera set to slow, rear curtain sync you can control the exposure of the truck with your aperture and the ambient light with your shutter speed. The flash will stop all the motion of the truck except the lights.
     
  11. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Definatly rear curtain sync.

    Here's basically what happens for the shot.

    Shutter opens, and starts exposing with low light exposing only the lights, in motion creating the light trails, then flash fires at the last part of the exposure, burning in the fire engine itself. Shutter closes.

    The result is a frozen firetruck with light trails behind it.

    Look in your camera's manual for how to use rear curtain sync flash.
    If your camera doesnt have a rear sync curtain flash option....

    Go for as low a ISO as you can get 100-200 or so.
    Get your flash unit out.
    Set the exposure for a slow shutter speed, around 1 sec or so.
    Now trigger the shutter, and before it closes, trigger the flash manually.

    You might have to play around with shutter speed and aperture, to get the exposure correct. Its gonna be tricky doing it this way, so it might take you a few times to get it right.
     
  12. mwood

    mwood TPF Noob!

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    thanks to everyone for their replies. Much appreciated!
    I will attach a couple of examples tonight.
    I'm a Nikon shooter....do you think an SB800 will be enought to light the whole engine?
     

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