Nightphotography on shiny objects

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by wise, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. wise

    wise TPF Noob!

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    I recently tried to capture a scene with a lighted clock outside. Whatever shutter time or aperture I chose I just couldn`t get the clockface, only a shiny surface without contours. I already had the same problem when taking pictures of the moon. Why is that? And how do I fix that?
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dynamic range. Our eyes are incredibly versatile using different sets of sensors to see dark and light objects, cameras definitely have no where near that kind of dynamic range. This is why your moon blows out in the night, (and why in nasa's photos of the moon landing you can't see any stars)

    You have 4 options:
    1) Decide what you want more. The moon is small and bright against a dark background. The camera's lightmeter gets confused with this so you will need to under expose the photo. Same with your clockface.
    2) Darken the bright subject. Can your clock be dimmed?
    3) Brighten the rest of the scene, either with flash or other light source to balance the image.
    4) And by far the worst in my opinion. Do HDR photography (just search HDR on this forum or in google and you'll get no end of hints on how to do this)
     
  3. wise

    wise TPF Noob!

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    Hmm, I already tried the first option: to underexpose the photo. But it didn`t work. Maybe I still haven`t underexposed it enough? The other options won`t work with the setting. HDR won`t work cause I am shooting moving objects aside from the clock. What am I supposed to do now?
     
  4. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    up your iso
     
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Since I do not know how the clock look like so I do not know for sure. However, for moon, you may need to treat it as a bright object. Just like a ball that reflect the sun light during the day.

    In that case, you may want to switch to manual mode and use the settings that you usually use during the day. Ignore the meter in your camera. And try it with a tripod if possible.
     
  6. wise

    wise TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so far. I already tried with a tripod. Maybe I still haven`t underexposed the picture enough. I`ll see.
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I believe so. Taking a photo of the moon is like taking a picture of an ball under the sun. In both cases, moon or the ball, you are capturing the reflected light from the SUN. And your camera meter do not know about it. So, just ignore the meter. And if you just using the exposure compensation to under expose your shot, it is not going to be enough.

    Do this, go meter an outdoor object now (daylight) and remember the shutter speed and aperture settings for ISO100. And try to use the setting tonight and see if you can get a better image of the moon. If not, then adjust the setting based on that. (like change the shutter speed)
     
  8. wise

    wise TPF Noob!

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    You`re right. I just checked it out. (It`s already night here)
    But it`s a pity. Then the picture I planned to take is just impossible due to the low dynamic range.
     
  9. I do not have the time to offer a lot of detailed help right now.

    Try to composite the shot - expose for the clock, which will make everything black, and make another exposure for the rest of the environment. This will require a tripod so the shot is exact.

    In Photoshop, there are a dozen different ways to combine these two shots. You could simply cut and paste the well-exposed clock into the shot of everything else. You could also explore HDR.

    Good luck.
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Would you mind posting the pic you got? I'd like to see it.
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Word
     
  12. wise

    wise TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. Why didn`t I think of it myself. It is so simple.

    It`s nothing fancy yet. When I saw that you can`t see the clockface I canceled my try. I will have to do it all over again.
     

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