Settings for night/outdoor/snow

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Casshew, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    I was trying to take a photo of our street lamp at night with the snow falling and everything I tried was awful.

    I have a Nikon D5000

    Without the flash it was too dark, no show showed at all

    With the flash it illuminated the snow close to me but the snow at the lamp didn't show

    Using the zoom the snow looked like streamers instead of flakes

    I tried the Scene-- Night setting and still everything was blurry.

    Any ideas what settings I should try?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  2. fiveoboy01
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    fiveoboy01 New Member

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    Try aperture priority, f8 or so. Then try focusing on the light and take a snap.

    Problem with your scenario is that you're shooting in a very dark environment with what is likely a slow lens, so the camera will give you a slow shutter speed for a proper exposure. This is why the snowflakes appear as streaks. Add the streetlight and it screws things up even more, if the camera meters off the light, you won't see anything else.

    Do you understand the basics of the exposure triangle? If not I strongly suggest you buy/read/understand the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I'm not going to delve into a million details here about things that you aren't going to understand anyways.
  3. blakjak8
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    blakjak8 New Member

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    Although I will probably be of no help to you...I have noticed that those people who are able to help will most likely ask for a photo to critique. Just a thought...hope it sparks a quicker response for you. I would like to learn the solution to your problem also. Good luck!
  4. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    Uh, no, I do not understand the basics, I am taking a course in February and I am going to do some poking around online, and on this forum I noticed there were some tutorials.

    I will try again (when it snows next) ;) with the f8 you suggested.

    Here are some of the pics

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]
  5. fiveoboy01
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    fiveoboy01 New Member

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    Just in case someone wants to jump on me for suggesting F8, I did so as a DOF issue, I'm aware that it will slow the shutter speed.

    Also bump your ISO to 800 or 1600 and use a tripod. You're probably still going to have a slow shutter speed anyhow which will result in blur. You could try rear curtain sync with the flash to get some ambient exposure and then freeze the snowflakes, not sure how well that will work if you have a streetlight adding to the ambient though.

    I still stand by my suggestion to pick up the book and read/understand it. Then when you go into photography class you'll already have a HUGE head start.
  6. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    Thanks very much for the feed back & suggestions. :)
  7. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    In the first picture, your flash froze the snowflakes, but they are all out of focus because the are closer than the streetlight (what you were focused on).
    (And the light from your flash (pop-up, I assume?) is falling off before it reaches the lamp.)

    Basically, I think you just need more light near the streetlight. It isn't bright enough to give you a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the snowflakes. You could try increasing your ISO to let you get a higher shutter speed, but that may not be enough...

    If you had an off camera flash near the streetlight, aimed up, it would illuminate the snowflakes, and then the ambient light from the lamp would illuminate it (the lamp).

    The only problem is that it would require gear that it sounds like you don't have...
    (A flash, and a way to trigger it off camera.)

    You might still be able to get a fast enough shutter speed by shooting while it's still a little light out (so that the lamp won't be the only light source).
  8. Mulewings~
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    Mulewings~ New Member

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    I sort of like the first one...it isn't spectacular...but it looks like you were having fun experimenting.

    Understanding the basics will most certainly help.
  9. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    Thanks... I like photo 1, but see how how there is so much detail in the lamp in photo #2?

    I was trying to accomplish that PLUS have the soft flurries all around, it seemed though I could only have one or the other.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  10. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    You just need the same amount of light, moved to the lamp.
  11. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    Sorry O|||||||O, I missed your first post. Yes you are right, I don't have any other equipment or lights, just the camera and me.

    Maybe a brighter night with a moon would be helpful, it's going to be a long winter I will keep trying and posting the results here :D


    and this is what the darn thing looks like in the day time

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  12. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    Your using it like a point and shoot, you need to learn how to use it properly
  13. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    I hope to, gsgary.
  14. bhphotography
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    bhphotography New Member

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    the reason the snow looks like streams is the low shutter speed.

    try using the "a" mode on your dial, set it to 1/200th of a second or faster and then play with your iso to correct your exposure, full manual will work as well
  15. Casshew
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    Casshew New Member

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    Thanks, I am just waiting for it to snow again and I'll be out there ;)



    I ordered the book on Amazon, thanks!

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