Night Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by CMan, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    There was a really cool image tonight...jet trails illuminated by the moon with stars behind them. However, it was frustrating, because I couldn't get them to show up in anything I took.

    I tried all kinds of apertures, ISO speeds, and exposure times, and I just didn't get anything. Anybody ever run into this roadblock as a beginner? Anyway I can get past it?
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Large aperture lens wide open, medium to high speed film, tripod, cable release. Start with 1/2 sec and run series of increasing length. The moon will, of course, be overexposed.
     
  3. Mmm.... not sure I agree. If the contrails you're trying to capture are close to being still (low wind) then you can use a much smaller aperture, and a much longer exposure. You will pick up a LOT more detail, and get a sharper image - IF nothing is moving in the wind.

    You MUST put your camera on something fixed and stationary - preferably a tri-pod.

    The moon will, of course, be overexposed.
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I've always used f/8 or thereabouts and a low ISO (200 or preferably under). I also did series of increasing length, though nothing as short as 1/2 second; more like 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2, 4, 8 etc, until I got an appropriate exposure. After a couple of attempts you get a rough idea of the length of exposure needed.

    That's film however; I haven't really tried much night photography or very long exposures with digital yet, and I don't know much about differences in sensitivity/reciprocity between the two.
     
  5. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    Try a wide apeture (They are on the camera/in the lens for a reason). And experement with exposure time. You will need as short an exposure as poss. NOTHING in the atmosphere is stationary... Large aperture, High ISO/ASA settings .TRIPOD. use cable release, Mirror lock up and self timer to trigger shutter and reduce vibration. Take a shot exposed for the moon. And without moving the setup. take another exposed for the contrails. Stars... errm yes.... are the same again but quite difficult as they are very feint and require VERY long exposures.. This will probably mean that the Halo / light polution, of the area, from the moon will interfere with the clarity of the image. Then in the darkroom (Digital or chemical) merge the two / three, negs / Exposures. and you SHOULD have what you are after....
     
  6. GMan_nz

    GMan_nz TPF Noob!

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    I had a similar problem trying to shoot the moon with my D50 (zoomed to 300mm, on a tripod, using a 5 second shutter delay so i wasn't wobbling things...) a couple of nights ago . . . the overexposure was killing me regardless of the ISO settings, aperture, shutter speeds etc that I fiddled with. Then I realised that I my metering was set to cover the whole scene . . . . mostly black and so the small bright white moon blows out. I simply switched to spot metering (I guess you could try centre-weighted if you have the option) and ended up with a couple of shots I was pretty happy with, including clearly discernable craters. Not bad for a boozey session on the deck :)
     
  7. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    If you're looking to get pictures of just the moon, try f/11 and 1/15. I've gotten spectacular results with those settings.

    In this case, I was mainly focusing on the things around the moon.

    I tried some of what you guys said tonight, as the same type thing was going on tonight, with jet trails and clouds around the moon. It was overexposed, as you said it would be, but I haven't really played with the pictures yet. Once I have, I'll post one or two up if I find them good enough.
     

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