technical advice on night photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by night_photo, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. night_photo

    night_photo TPF Noob!

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    I am going to photograph in Central Park in the dark once The Gates have been completed. I don't know anything about night photography, but am about to go to the library to do some research and would also like some advice. What aperture should I use? Would it be best to leave on Auto and let the camera close shutter at will? Or should I use Bulb? What type of color film would be best? I've never really shot color before. I have a tripod. Will I just need to experiment?
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You've come into the wrong room. General Q&A at the top
    Mods please move.

    PS: welcome to TPF
     
  3. jadin

    jadin The Mad Hatter

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    Off the top of my head...

    Well it really depends on your equipment. If your camera has an automatic mode it would work just fine (depending on what you focus on). I'd only recommend using bulb for long (30 second plus) exposures. For aperture choose the smallest number possible on your lenses (as a general rule of thumb for low-light), this will let the most light in. It will also make the amount of the photo in focus smaller. (just an FYI)

    One of the best hints for night photography is to use a remote cable shutter release (if you have one). If you don't use your camera's "timer" mode, this lets you keep your hands away from the camera since just clicking the shutter is enough to make a shot blurred.

    For film you really have a lot of choices. For the best quality use very low ISO film. Such as ISO 100 or even ISO 50. This will make very clear grainfree images. But since it's more sensitive, your chances of ruining the shot by wind moving the camera or you bumping something increases. The other end of the spectrum is very high ISO, say ISO 800, or even ISO 1600. This will increase the chances of a blur free picture but will also make it grainy, (more noticable if you plan on enlarging).
     
  4. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Hello and welcome to the forum!!

    Firstly, as with any photographic question, the true answer is "it depends"! We don't know what effect you are attempting to achieve, or what equipment you are going to use. More information will assist everyone in answering your question satisfactorily...

    Anyway, here's a random answer which is my best guess for you:

    Pre-requisites:

    A semi automatic film camera (AE - Auto Exposure is needed)
    Cable-release (or timer)
    Tripod
    Film

    Go and buy some (IMHO) Fuji Superia 200 or 400 ASA film and then load into your camera.

    Go out, put it on a tripod and focus on your scene.

    Set depth of field - f4 to f8 for a standard shot, f11+ for lens flare and interesting lighting. The greater the depth of field (f number), the longer the exposure and the brighter the highlights become.

    Press cable-release or activate self-timer (this reduces direct vibration).

    Voila...

    Good luck, city night photography is always appealing to both the masses and the experts, so you will do well if they come out!

    Rob
     
  5. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    What worked for me, after lots and lots of reading, experimenting, not liking what I saw, more reading... wash, rinse, repeat as needed...

    hehe

    I used a Canon AE-1 Program. I set the aperture manually and just counted "seconds" in my head using the remote cable release while in bulb mode.

    ISO 200 Fuji film (just what I happened to have on hand)
    Aperature set to F8
    Tripod
    Remote Cable Release (very inexpensive, and very handy)
    Exposure 10-30 seconds

    When I do it next time I will be opening the aperature up another notch to try to eliminate the starburst effect, but using this basic method I was able to get shots I was very happy with.

    here is an example of the results. I wish I had taken better notes, but looking at it I think this one was closer to 10 seconds than 30 but I was suprised just how forgiving exposure can be when taking night shots.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, 10s looking at the water. A great start though, well done!
     

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