photographing action at night

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kate1013, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. kate1013

    kate1013 TPF Noob!

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    I am a little new to photography and I am supposed to take pictures of my friend whose husband is coming home from Iraq tonight. I want to take some candid and special photos for them to remember. I am just a little concerned on what settings to use since it will be outside at night, but there will be big lights around. Plus there will be lots of movement that I will want to capture and take quick shots of. What would be the best combination of shutter speed and aperture and should I use the flash? I will be using a Pentax ZX-7 (autofocus SLR) and 400 ISO Black and White film.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Without knowing how much light will be there...it's really hard to tell you what settings to use.

    One option would be to shoot with a fast lens, say F1.8 and then use the fasted shutter speed you can get. You might still need faster film...or you could push that 400 to 800 or 1600...which might get grainy, however that may be a nice effect.

    Or you could use flash. If it's dark, flash will illuminate your subjects but getting any background will be a challenge. You could try flash in combination with a slow shutter speed but then you may get ghosting around the subjects.

    If you are unsure...I'd suggest using the flash on Auto. If you don't have a hot shoe mounted flash...you might get red eye so do what you can to avoid that.

    Good luck.
     
  3. kate1013

    kate1013 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much for your reply. I'm sorry about the lack of details, but I myself don't really know what I will be dealing with until I get there. I just needed some idea on where to start. So thanks, I will take your advice!
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Usually with flash you would set the shutter speed to be the same as the sync speed, but I don't use flash hardly at all.

    I've had good luck pushing T-Max and TCN 400 to 1600 without an extreme amount of grain. Set the camera to 1600 ISO and tell the lab to push to 1600. You'll probably have to pay a little extra. If it's well lit, that and f1.8 may be all you need. If you have a consumer zoom, you'll probably have to use flash.

    Check when you get there. Before you take the first shot, set the camera to 1600 and it's lowest aperture and see what kind of shutter speeds you get. They shouldn't be slower than 1/view-angle. For example, at 50mm, shutter speeds should be 1/50 or faster. If there's not enough light, switch back to 400 ISO and use flash at the recommended aperture and synch speed.
     

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