Shooting landscapes at night

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by LeftRightLeft, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. LeftRightLeft

    LeftRightLeft TPF Noob!

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    I'm an absolut noob with dslrs, anyway decided to take some pics at night of landscapes... i dont have a tripod and took pictures by changing the apeture and shutter speed.. the pics i took were blurred and was wondering if there was anything else i could to take night pics without a tripod or was a tripod the only solution?
     
  2. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

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    A tripod is going to be your best solution. For long exposures (which are required at night to let more light reach the sensor) the camera needs to remain perfectly still to eliminate any blur caused by camera shake.

    You could always find something else solid to put the camera on, but I'd hate to have my dSLR on the edge of a rock and a nice gust of wind knock it off...not a great choice...

    One other thing to consider (once you have a tripod) is that you'll want to get a remote shutter for your camera or set the self-timer for your night shots. That way you're not touching the camera when it actually takes the picture and eliminates any chance of camera shake.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    JDS is right, the solution to your problem is to fire the camera without touching it. You could even use a bean bag and fire it with the self timer...but you can't hold it in your hands.

    The rule of thumb for when you are shooting hand held is this; The shutter speed should be equal to or faster than the focal length of the lens. So if the lens is 50mm, then you should be shooting with a shutter speed faster than 1/50 (1/60 should do). That was the rule with 35mm film anyway...with the smaller sensors in most DSLR cameras, they say the rule should be multiplied by the crop factor which is probably 1.5 or 1.6 for your camera. So with a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be 1/80 (1/90).

    It's not as simple as adjusting your shutter speed to make it fast enough....you still need to get enough light. The first way to get a faster shutter speed is to make sure the aperture is open all the way (low F number)...the next step would be to turn up the ISO setting. However, the more you turn up the ISO, the more digital noise you will get.

    Maybe just go out and get a $20 tripod.
     
  4. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah if you're not looking to do anything too intense I'd say run to Wal-Mart and grab a $20 tripod. I did and while it's a complete POS it does the job (kind of... 2 / 3 legs don't lock so they slide back in). Plus $20 to try something out isn't that bad. If you're really into it and like the results maybe then consider buying something more expensive.

    The bean bag trick is another good idea. I think most cameras also support a remote control (I know my D50 does and it was about $10).

    You should be able to get the minimum equipment for this type of shot fairly cheap. Good luck!
     
  5. LeftRightLeft

    LeftRightLeft TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the replies.. im going to be travelling so i dont know how easy it will be to lug a tripod around
     
  6. dubydogg

    dubydogg TPF Noob!

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    they have mini ones (tripods) at best buy, ect. for cheap as well.
     
  7. ericande

    ericande TPF Noob!

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    I got one from bestbuy that is maybe 8 inches long and it was only about $12. Can't be your only tripod but I can carry it on trips on my bike.
     
  8. ironsidephoto

    ironsidephoto TPF Noob!

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    they beat me to it, but i don't see how you could do this without a tripod.
     
  9. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    There are some very good light weight tripods around and quite cheap as well. I hike and hill climb and if the Manfrotto is too heavy . the Velbon CX-640 works well...
    You don't say what equipment you use, this could have a bearing. Essentially. try to take a few before dark falls. There is an unbelievable Blueness to the sky just before dark. Also the contrast between the highlights and the shadows is not so pronounced. so you can capture more detail. RAW (If digital) is very useful at the "Twilight" time. ask a few more specific questions on this forum, read a few magazines / web pages, etc and play with your camera a bit (NOT practice or experiment. But PLAY ).
    You can use any flat sturdy surface as a "TRIPOD" a gate or fence post a wall etc . A jumper / fleece / coat / suitcase / back pack, is a reasonable "Bean Bag" Substitute. just have a look round and have a think about what is available (Consider time first). Learn to breath slowly (Breath in , Hold it, breath slowly out and squeeze the shutter as the "Target" crosses the focus mark.
     
  10. AluminumStudios

    AluminumStudios TPF Noob!

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    If you can afford a DSLR you can afford to go to Walmart and buy an $18 tripod ;)
     
  11. neogfx

    neogfx TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget to alter your exposure meeting for night shots as well, the camera's light meter tends to overcompensate a little so try stopping down a few stops.
     
  12. David

    David TPF Noob!

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    You may wish to visit Cambridge in Colour :hail:. Not only is there a gallery with some amazing urban landscapes shot at night to inspire you, but there are some excellent tutorials for all levels of knowledge, and some good advice on techniques.

    David
     

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