Water homes

mikeWest

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So I went out and decided to try some night photography. Long exposures, tripod, etc...

Here's what I got. What else can I do next time to make these better?

Here's the first:
http://sdrv.ms/RelHa8

And the second:
http://sdrv.ms/RelP9C


I feel like there's a lot lacking here in terms of composition -- not entirely sure what I was thinking but it was late.
 
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mikeWest

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I suppose one bump is in order. My biggest issue is that at night it's hard to judge exposure well. Anything from "can see the colors" to "looks like taken during the day" can be reasonable, but I have no intuition for how long to expose for and what side of the scale to fall on. It seems strange to have night images look like they were taken during the day but the other end of the spectrum is too dark.
 

WesternGuy

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If you have only two images (actually doesn't mattter how many) you are best to post them here. A lot of folks do not want to follow a link because of a fear of viruses and the like, not that you would spread one, it is just the "unknown" aspect of the link. Also, if you do post them here, please number them as this makes it a lot easier for a reviewer to refer to them. Thanks.
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sm4him

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First, if you want C&C, it's really helpful to post the photos themselves in the thread. Many people won't click an external link, either for security reasons, or because they figure if it's not worth YOuR while to put them into the thread, it's not worth their while to have to go somewhere else to view them.

Second: read this: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...naheims-ultimate-guide-night-photography.html
 

JustinL

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Did you shoot in raw? The white balance is set wrong and giving it an orange cast, but can be fixed if you still have the raw file.

it says okay to edit so i did a quick adjustment...

 
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mikeWest

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Fair criticism all :) Here are the pictures inline:
(1)
$IMG_1931-2.jpg

(2)
$IMG_1940.jpg


I'm looking for criticism on composition, exposure. (What else is there?)

What should I have done at the time of shooting to get the White Balance correct? I believe it was set to Auto. Should I have set it for incandescent light given all the bulbs? I did shoot in RAW so I can fix it.
 

JustinL

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The best thing to do with night photos is to just use the raw file. That will let you chose the white balance in post. Auto never gets it right for me.
 

Jaemie

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^^ What Justin said.

Thanks for posting the photos. The WB issue has been addressed, so I'll leave that alone. They have some wonderful elements and remind me of Sausalito, in California. The reflections are beautiful.

#1: Camera movement. Cut masts. Cut houseboat on far left. Lines (ridgetop, waterway) leading my eyes to the large structure at far right. What's the focal point in this image? The wonderful reflections on the water? I'm afraid I'm lost.

#2: Much more relaxing (easier on my eyes) than #1. Still some camera shake. Raising your ISO from 200 to 400 and going up a step in shutter speed might have helped. That large bright hilltop structure is still a distraction. So is that very bright light in the left houseboat's upstairs room. My eyes are drawn to that little houseboat on the right with its patio and deckchairs and its charming windows illuminated so nicely. The brown houseboat behind it distracts, though. God, it must be hard to work with all those competing elements! Lol..
 
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mikeWest

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So I'm giving up on #1. I don't think it's worth fighting for. Here is #2 -- with WB fixed:

$IMG_1940-1-small.jpg

I'm wondering what folks think of the composition. Was this even a shot worth taking? Would you have positioned it this way?

Jaemie -- I agree with you about the 2 lights (lamp and structure). I can get rid of the topmost structure in pp but I feel strange doing that. I guess it is what it is and next time I will try to frame better but I'm not sure if altering an image like that is what I want to do right now. I can't get rid of the lamp in the window -- that's too hard for me. Also, it's ironic that it reminds you of Sausalito and not any other location.
 

fjrabon

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2 is a background in want of a subject, with a lot of things that are just very mildly interesting. The eye just sort of lazily drifts over it. I get that part of this was just practicing a technique, but to me a subject is what it is simply missing. It's not quite pretty enough to qualify for a subjectless landscape/cityscape type picture.

Always think "what am I taking a picture of here?" and if the answer is just "well, this stuff", then it's probably not a picture worth worrying about.
 

Jaemie

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That's a nice edit. The tone feels cool, but now the lights complement that coolness quite well. :)

Also, it's ironic that it reminds you of Sausalito and not any other location.

Oh... Was this taken in the Seattle area? I've only lived here since 2011. I spent the previous 20 years in Marin County, California, however, hence the Sausalito comment! :)
 
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mikeWest

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fjrabon -- you're right -- agree with you on that. I wish there was a boat or something else there :-/

Jaemie -- yup that's Lake Union, next to gas works park.
 

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