Waterfalls and night shots

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by marksmithusa, May 29, 2007.

  1. marksmithusa

    marksmithusa TPF Noob!

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    Dear all,

    I am a photo newbie and don’t understand a lot of the terminology (such as aperture, etc). However, I simply love taking photos with my Nikon D80 and would really like to get good. I know I need a class but I don't have time in my life just yet (maybe in a year or two!)

    One type of photo that I struggle with is the waterfall. I really do enjoy waterfalls (and all water-based shots) but I do have difficulty avoiding the ‘silky' stream of water. I would like to get a clearer shot if I can.

    Also, my d80 seems to have problems with moving (sporty) shots at night - specifically related to the amount of blur - I don't think I've ever taken a single good shot with my d80 (but I was able to with the sport mode on an earlier Nikon).

    Any advice or tips would be appreciated. I'm going to Niagara (which would combine the waterfall and night shot!) and a baseball game or two over the summer so I would like to be prepared.

    TIA,

    Mark
     
  2. SLRman

    SLRman TPF Noob!

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    the water seems "silky" because your shutter speed is not fast enough, slower shutter speeds will capture motion thus your silky waterfall, if you up the shutter speed a little, the shutter will close fast enough to stop the waterfall in its tracks just like this for example

    this is one taken with a slow shutter speed

    [​IMG]

    this is one taken with a fast shutter speed

    [​IMG]

    hope this helped :thumbup:
     
  3. marksmithusa

    marksmithusa TPF Noob!

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    Very nice shot!

    Yes, that's pretty much what I need to do. All I need to do now is to figure out how to increase the shutter speed on my camera. I guess I should RTFM for that...

    Is it a similar technique for moving shots at night? The d80 has a sport mode but it sucks at night.

    Grazie Mille!

    Mark
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The problems you describe have little to do with your camera...they deal with the physics of photography.

    Photography is about recording light...making an exposure. To make an exposure, you need a certain amount of light. Think of it like filling a bucket with water. You have two main variables to consider...the size of the hose and the length of time to fill the bucket. You could use a large hose and fill the bucket in one second...or you could use a smaller hose and fill the bucket in 10 seconds. If you take that back to photography...you have the aperture (hole in the lens) and the shutter speed. The bigger the aperture (hole), the less time you need for the exposure. It's a trade off in either direction...if you double the size of the hole, you need half as much time. If you half the size of the hole, you need twice as much time.
    The third variable is sensitivity (ISO) but let's not worry about that just yet.

    So taking that back to your waterfall; you want to get a sharp shot of the water...which means you would need a fast shutter speed (short time). That means you would need a large aperture. Apertures are represented by F numbers...a smaller number is a bigger aperture. (remember that). So to get a fast shutter speed, use the lowest F number that you can.
    Now, the problem with that, is that your lens has a limit to how big it's aperture can get...which limits how fast you can set your shutter speed for the light you have. Of course, the more light you have, the easier it is to make the exposure...so you may need to shoot in bright daylight to get a sharp shot of moving water. You can increase your ISO setting, which will allow you to use a faster shutter speed...but that will introduce digital noise.

    It's the same situation when shooting sports (moving subjects) at night...or in low lighting. If there is not a lot of light, the aperture simply can't get big enough and let in enough light, without having to use a longer shutter speed...and that's why you get blurry photos.

    One solution to combat this...it to use lenses that have larger maximum apertures. That's what pros use for shooting sports etc. The problem is that those lenses (called fast lenses) can get very expensive...especially fast zoom lenses. Even with faster lenses...you still can't expect to get sharp shots of moving subjects in low light...unless you add more light (flash etc.).

    What you need to do is to discover the limits of your equipment and learn to work within those limits.
     
  5. SLRman

    SLRman TPF Noob!

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    The D80 i believe is almost the same layout as my D40x, there should be a dial on top, and a S for shutter speed, read your manual its all in there
     
  6. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Haha this made me laugh. :wink: You admit you're a newb but blame the camera for the bad pics.

    I don't know that you NEED a class. Surely it won't hurt but you could learn the basics from library books too. IMO photography is maybe 25% knowing your camera, 75% knowing how to creatively take a photo. Unfortunately without that 25% though you're pretty much screwed.

    With an SLR... the camera will give you all of the control and if you're not sure what you're doing, you won't get good results. By spending the extra for a dSLR you're just buying control, not necessarily quality.

    I think you'll find as you learn more and study up... the camera will stop making these mistakes and you'll get much better pics. :)
     
  7. RedDevilUK

    RedDevilUK TPF Noob!

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    first off, i have a bit of experience with waterfall shots, and find that long exposures are best... if your going to Niagra i envy you so much... i would love to shoot that fall :(

    heres an example
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    now you can do more with Long exposure, but you can go too far and make it almost cartoon like.

    and dont blame the camera, because thats what took these photos with a D80 with a 18-70mm lens and ND filter
     
  8. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    OK... let's start with some terms (forgive me for my misspellings).

    Aperture: The blades (usually six) that close in the lens that simulate the pupil of the eye. The "o" in the logo for the Adorama logo is what one looks like.

    Shutter: it is the "door" to the film/photo sensor. Once you press the the shutter release (the button that takes the picture), the aperture closes to what it was set to, the mirror (that allows you to view you shot) lifts, the shutter opens exposing the film/photo sensor to the given time that you selected, then it closes, the mirror goes back down, and the aperture returns to a fully open possition so that you can view your next shot with the most available light.

    The two things that really effect exposure greatly are the two things listed above (or at least the most talked about there are other things that effect exposure but let's just talk about these first): the aperture, and shutter speed.

    Shutter speed is usually shown like this (1/250th) on paper, but on your camera it will usually look like this 250. When is says 1/250, it is saying that it's giving the film only 1/250th of second of light. The bigger the number on you camera, the faster the shutter opens then closes. Exposing the film/photo sensor to less and less light (and captures more of just an instant in time i.e. freezing motion). If you want blurred motion (silky water falls), you will need to have a rather long shutter speed (i.e. have the shutter open for 1/4th of a second for excample). So what I would do is start using the AV, TV, P, and M settings on the camera.

    AV=Aperture priority (meaning that you select the aperture setting and the camera does the rest

    TV=Shutter priority (meaning you select the shutter)

    P=not sure what it stands for but it selects shutter and aperture for you but you can select the exposure (look through the manual to find out how exactly cause I have a Canon, and I'm not sure how they do that with Nikons).

    M= manual (you select both shutter and aperture).


    I guess that's all I have for now... If you have any more questions please PM me... I'll try to help as much as I can.
     
  9. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    Dang... There was nobody here when I started writing my post...
     
  10. boogaguy

    boogaguy TPF Noob!

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    Well if you want to take water pics then the standard is to blur the water.
    Use a slow shutter speed. If its too bright then use a smaller aperture so you can get your shutter speed down to 1 sec. use a tripod. Look at the diagram for the camera and then mess with them and youll see what im talking about.
    Anyways do these things and youll have the standards that everyone pines over. :) :thumbup:
     
  11. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    AV and TV is Canon-talk. For us Nikon users Shutter Priority is labeled "S" and Aperture Priority is labeled "A".

    What does TV stand for anyway and how do you abbrev. "Shutter Priority" to TV??? Can anyone explain this madness??? :raisedbrow:
     
  12. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    :blushing: :blushing: Shows how much I really know... lol...:blushing: :blushing:
     

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