Question (Night Photos)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dla, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. dla

    dla TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, I am new to the photography world. I just purchased a Nikon D3000 with the kit lens (18-55mm). I would like to take some pictures of my house with the Christmas lights on. There is no street lights in my neighborhood so the only other light would be from the moon, on a clear night. Thanks in advance. Love the site, great info.
     
  2. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    Are you asking how to do it? You'll probably need to do a pretty long exposure, which will require the camera being on a tripod. I would set the aperture to around f/8 and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yep, tripod is a must. Camera in Aperture Priority mode set to f/8 - f/16, low ISO.
    Use a remote release to set off the camera OR use the 2-3 sec timer on your camera if you dont have a remote.
     
  4. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    Definitely. Forgot to mention that. Even the slight movement/vibration from your finger pushing the button on the camera can affect long exposures.
     
  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Also, the best "night" photos of things like Xmas lights and lit signs and store fronts are not taken in the dark of night.

    If you want the best shots, setup about at about sunset. As the sky darkens start taking a picture every few minutes. The trick is to get the best balance between an almost black scene and the bright lights. If you shoot too late, the lights will be too bright relative to the house.

    Shooting at dusk to make it look like night is often referred to as shooting during the "magic hour", although the sweet spot is far less than an hour. With experience you'll learn to judge when the balance between the lights and the ambient lighting is at its best. While you're just beginning, start shooting a little early and keep shooting until its rather dark. The best shots will probably be about the time you can just barely read a newspaper without additional light.

    Of course, you'll want to do all the basics:

    1. Use a tripod or other very firm and solid support.
    2. Release the shutter without pressing on the shutter release. Either use a remote release cord, a wireless remote, or the self timer.
    3. Use the lowest ISO available on the camera. DO NOT set the camera's ISO to "auto".
    4. Use Aperture priority and set an aperture 1-2 stops smaller (larger number) than the lens' maximum.
    5. Bracket your exposures. In this situation you are not likely to underexpose but may overexpose. Shot one with the EV compensation set to 0 and one with it set to -1, possibly a third (digital is cheap to shoot) at -2. Do a batch like this at every interval at the scene darkens.
     
  6. AUZambo

    AUZambo TPF Noob!

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    Buy a very powerful flash. Maybe park a few 18-wheelers in front of the house with high beams on to provide enough light.

    You could also max out the brightness in photoshop to get the desired effect.
     
  7. dla

    dla TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the help. I will give it a try and see how it turns out. Happy Holidays to all.
     
  8. biggerben

    biggerben TPF Noob!

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    brilliant advice!

    here is an example: The Importance of Timing (no, I'm not affiliated in any way, I just think his site is awesome)
     

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