night photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kyjim, May 24, 2004.

  1. kyjim

    kyjim Guest

    I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.

    I would like to take some pictures of town scenes, bridges and some
    portraits by candle light.

    I have a tripod, a remote switch, and three lens, (75-300, 35-80, and 18-55
    all Canon).

    If some one has the time and knowledge to give me a step by step I would
    greatly appreciate it.

    I am every new to photography and to digital photography.

    Thank You For Any Help...
    kyjim, May 24, 2004
    #1
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  2. kyjim

    Chris Brown Guest

    In article <Znosc.109587$xw3.6303992@attbi_s04>,
    kyjim <> wrote:
    >I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    >much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.
    >
    >I would like to take some pictures of town scenes, bridges and some
    >portraits by candle light.
    >
    >I have a tripod, a remote switch, and three lens, (75-300, 35-80, and 18-55
    >all Canon).
    >
    >If some one has the time and knowledge to give me a step by step I would
    >greatly appreciate it.
    >
    >I am every new to photography and to digital photography.


    OK, here's a rough guide to getting reasonable long-exposure night shots:

    First we need to determine how long to make the exposure.

    Put your camera in M mode, 1600 ISO. Set the aperture to f/4. Then point it
    at your scene, and adjust the shutter speed until the metering arrow is in
    the middle.

    Note the exposure time it displays, let's say it gives you 10 seconds (if
    you can't get it to line up, your scene is *really* dark, so you'll need to
    determine the exposure time by other methods).

    Now put your camera in 100 ISO. Leave it in M mode, and set the aperture to
    f/8. This is where most lenses are at their sharpest. Because of the way
    exposure values work, changing the ISO from 1600 to 100 requires us to
    multiply the time by 16, and changing the aperture from f/4 to f/8 requires
    us to multiply the time by 4, so in total we need to multiply our exposure
    time by 64. If the reading we got above was 10 seconds, we need to expose
    for 640 seconds (call it ten minutes, close enough for government work).

    So now we have our exposure time, change the time setting in M mode until it
    says "Bulb". Using your remote switch, and a stopwatch, open the shutter,
    lock your switch in position, and wait ten minutes.

    Oh, you might want to use RAW mode for this, to get the best image quality,
    especially if you want to pull details out of the shadows.

    If it's not that dark, it may well be possible to avoid using Bulb mode,
    just by setting Av mode and dialing in f/8. If the exposure pointer goes to
    the middle, you're all set - just take the picture. If not, follow the steps
    above.

    By the way, if you're interested in how I calculated the shutter time above,
    the way exposure works is that each "stop" is a doubling, or halving of the
    amount of light reorded. Increasing the aperture value by a factor of 1.4
    (actually, the square root of two) reduces the exposure by one stop. Halving
    the ISO setting does the same, as does halving the exposure time. Thus,
    going from 1600 ISO to 100 ISO and going from f/4 to f/8 reduces the
    exposure by 6 stops, which means we need 64 times as much light to reach the
    sensor (64 = 2*2*2*2*2*2).

    Good luck!
    Chris Brown, May 24, 2004
    #2
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  3. kyjim

    Don Guest

    Since most of what you describe consists of fairly dark backgrounds with
    many point sources of bright light, I would add to that lens collection a
    good, fast prime of about 35 to 50mm equivalent. Generally a good prime
    will have fewer surfaces for intenal reflections and flare, better speed,
    and be sharper than a zoom.

    And then experiment a lot. Without the need to buy and process a lot of
    film, you can affors a lot of experiments. You'll discard most of what you
    take. When you get to the point where 10% of what you take is a keeper, you
    can quit :)

    Don


    "kyjim" <> wrote in message
    news:Znosc.109587$xw3.6303992@attbi_s04...
    > I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    > much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.
    >
    > I would like to take some pictures of town scenes, bridges and some
    > portraits by candle light.
    >
    > I have a tripod, a remote switch, and three lens, (75-300, 35-80, and

    18-55
    > all Canon).
    >
    > If some one has the time and knowledge to give me a step by step I would
    > greatly appreciate it.
    >
    > I am every new to photography and to digital photography.
    >
    > Thank You For Any Help...
    >
    >
    Don, May 24, 2004
    #3
  4. kyjim

    Jim Townsend Guest

    kyjim wrote:

    > I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    > much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.
    >
    > I would like to take some pictures of town scenes, bridges and some
    > portraits by candle light.
    >
    > I have a tripod, a remote switch, and three lens, (75-300, 35-80, and 18-55
    > all Canon).
    >
    > If some one has the time and knowledge to give me a step by step I would
    > greatly appreciate it.
    >
    > I am every new to photography and to digital photography.


    Put your camera on the tripod.. (This is absolutely the MOST important
    thing)

    Select one of the creative modes. (P, Av, or Tv). This will
    prevent the flash from firing... You can't turn the flash off in
    most or all of the 'canned' modes.

    Point your camera at what you want to photograph and take a picture.
    It's best to use the remote switch to avoid movement.

    You can get nice stars around points of light by using a small aperture
    You can set this in Av mode.. The camera will take care of the exposure
    time. f/8 to f/16 works well. The type of star you get will vary by lens.

    Bracket.. Take a few different exposures of the same thing. You can
    use the exposure compensation control to increase or decrease the exposure
    by 1/3.

    Make sure there are no lights that are far brighter than everything
    else in the scene. They'll probably be overexposed and blown out...

    Experiment. It costs *nothing* to take digital pictures :)

    I'll admit I'm no expert, but I do find it fun taking night shots..

    Here are a few I took around town last year with my 10D.. Most of
    the images are original large fine JPEGS right from the camera with no
    processing.. All the EXIF data is attached so you can get some idea
    of the settings....

    http://www.pbase.com/jim_townsend/winnipeg_by_night
    Jim Townsend, May 24, 2004
    #4
  5. kyjim

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Here is an article on the subject. It is film based but will give you
    starting points. Remember you can simply keep experimenting with any shot
    until you get one that works and you won't have to throw away any film -
    it's much easier with digital.
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/mani/techs/mniteshot.html


    --
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html
    "kyjim" <> wrote in message
    news:Znosc.109587$xw3.6303992@attbi_s04...
    > I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    > much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.
    >
    > I would like to take some pictures of town scenes, bridges and some
    > portraits by candle light.
    >
    > I have a tripod, a remote switch, and three lens, (75-300, 35-80, and

    18-55
    > all Canon).
    >
    > If some one has the time and knowledge to give me a step by step I would
    > greatly appreciate it.
    >
    > I am every new to photography and to digital photography.
    >
    > Thank You For Any Help...
    >
    >
    Tony Spadaro, May 24, 2004
    #5
  6. kyjim

    chibitul Guest

    In article <Znosc.109587$xw3.6303992@attbi_s04>,
    "kyjim" <> wrote:

    > I have a Cannon 300D with all the bells and whistle needed to take pretty
    > much any kinds of pictures. The thing I lack is knowledge and experience.


    Well, you are honest and I like your attitude. I am no expert either, so
    I won't give advice. I would just like to remind you about the local
    library, there are many good books in there. You will also get good
    advice in this group, but it doesn't come close to sitting in the couch
    at night and reading a good book with examples and comments. Even a book
    about film will do fine. And experiment, it won't cost you too much. Put
    you camera in manual mode, and *think* before you shoot: do you want a
    large dept of field, a motion blur, what do you want to achieve... then
    take a few pictures (not too many, you won't get anywhere this way). Go
    home, "develop" (download to computer) and analyze. Take notes, exposure
    time, aperture, ISO, etc. See what is different, you will soon learn
    what each setting does. Next evening go back and shoot the same thing
    again. repeat this a few times until you master that scene. Go to the
    next one and shoot. Now apply what you learn from the first scene, maybe
    you can get that perfect picture in less attempts??? good, you are on
    the right track. keep going. it only gets better. Good luck!!!
    chibitul, May 25, 2004
    #6
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