Night Shots - Wanting Feedback/Advice - Please C&C

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by smackitsakic, May 21, 2010.

  1. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    I tried taking some night shots a few evenings ago and this is what I came up with. My shutter speed was roughly 25 to 35 seconds depending on the shot.

    Any feedback for me for next time? Is everything so orange because of white balance issues, or do I need a fluroscent light filter (especially the last two)?

    Thanks for the advice!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. er111a

    er111a TPF Noob!

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    all seem to be blured
     
  3. Fremen

    Fremen TPF Noob!

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    I agree, seem blured :(
     
  4. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They don't look blurry to me. Just busy. The clouds have some ghosting and blur but that's a product of a long exposure. I like the first and second, the skies are nice. I'd desaturate some of the yellow/orange in the foreground lights - #2 would be really cool if you could see the foreground grass better, maybe manually firing a flash or painting with a flashlight could have given you that look.

    I don't think you need a filter or anything, I'd just adjust white balance in post.
     
  5. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    Thanks reznap, for a comment that is actually constructive. Any others?
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Some starter tips...

    1. Use a tripod (I assume you did)
    2. Shoot RAW for maximum color and exposure compensation capabilities.
    3. Deliberately over-expose and then back it down in post processing.
    4. Manually focus (usually to infinity- check your lens- they're not all marked right)

    I wrote a lengthy article about this and posted it on my forum. You can find it here:
    ImageAspect • View topic - Evolution of a Night Photographer

    There's quite a lot of info in there, with examples.
     
  7. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Paul, adjust the WB in post. Not sure if those are fluorescent lights. It's tough to get the WB on street lights.

    Desaturate the orange color in post. Your info said OK to edit, so thought I would show you what a few seconds did by playing with color saturation. I'll take the image down if you want. I also sharpened and increased contrast a hair.

    [​IMG]

    Saturation settings to give you an idea of what colors I messed with (ACDSee Pro color EQ):

    [​IMG]
     
  8. AJake

    AJake TPF Noob!

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    I LOVE the edited version!
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would not suggest desaturating it. All you're doing is sucking the life out of it, really. One of the really cool things about night photography is how the various colors of light bring life to an image. The key is balancing them to a pleasant sort of mid-point where you can see the individual colors without it looking horribly unnatural and weird.

    If OP can forgive me posting in your thread, here is an example...

    [​IMG]

    Greens, yellows, oranges, whites, blues... it's all in there. Very lively.
     
  10. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    I generally agree with this, and I probably "sucked out too much". Are you saying you prefer to leave the intense colors street lights will cast? Is there another, better way to handle that sort of thing in post? How do you shoot scenes like the neighborhood one without getting too much reddish/orange from the lights?

    In your scene of the downtown lights, that makes sense, there are not numerous neighborhood street lights with that strange color temp they give off.
     
  11. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    Great work in editing 'myfotoguy', I agree that your edits make the photo far superior. Thanks for showing me that! Very helpful.

    I will try playing around with WB the next time i'm out doing night shots, but it's nice to know that some PP can really enhance the picture:)
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, see, the thing is that the lights ARE yellow... so desaturating them and the light they cast on objects around them just takes away reality. It's a funny trick of the eye/brain... when we're in the situation we don't really see the yellow color-cast (unless we're looking for it) because our brain compensates for the color. However, when we see a picture of it, the yellow is suddenly thrust in our face.

    In reality, however, we know the color to be true because when adjusted properly it looks right. The trick of this is that the camera in this case has been thrown off by the colors because the yellow is so overwhelming so it has a hard time deciding where the white point is.

    The end result is that we need an adjustment... but not a desaturation.

    I just did a VERY quick pass at this off a low-quality JPEG so this is NOT perfect, but you should see a noticable improvement here:

    [​IMG]

    btw, I also couldn't resist a quick sharpening pass as it needed it (which is a whole additional topic in digital photography)

    I could do much better with a RAW.

    So the key is to understand that the light colors are correct, but that sometimes the camera misinterprets the white point because there's an overwhelming amount of non-sunlight in the image. So you want to correct white point, but not remove the color itself or it'll look flat and dead.
     

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