What best way to take Christmas light photos with Kodak EasyShare camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dolu, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Dolu

    Dolu Guest

    What is the best way to take Christmas light decoration photos using a simple
    Kodak EasyShare digital camera? I do not have a tripod. For many years I have
    taken many such photos with my film slr camera where I knew the the exact
    exposer. For iso 400 film I could get good shots with 1/60 or 1/125 shutter
    speed where I could hold steady hand. I am glad that the Kodak EasyShare
    cameras have simplified lot of stuff, I just need to know a "mode" to select
    that will tell the camera to use shutter speed priority while computing the
    exposure. I thought the "action" mode would do the trick, but here I can not
    specify a iso - the auto iso selection is limited between 80 and 125 where
    even the fastest shutter speed selected seems too slow and introduces blur
    due to shake (without tripod). I would appreciate any tip or trick to work
    around this problem.
    Dolu, Dec 16, 2006
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  2. "Starry night" or "night fireworks" ??
    =?iso-8859-1?B?bWlubmVz+HR0aQ==?=, Dec 16, 2006
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  3. Dolu

    ASAAR Guest

    You'll need to tell us which Kodak camera you're using, as not all
    of their EasyShare cameras are alike. Or you could try to figure it
    out by reading your camera's manual, comparing it with one of these:

    On the low end there's the Easyshare C300, which for still
    photography has only an Automatic mode, a Night Scene mode, and
    exposure compensation. The specifications provide no information
    about the shutter speed range. I hope that your camera is more
    advanced than this one.

    The Easyshare C503/C553 has Landscape mode, ten additional SCN
    (scene) modes, and exposure compensation. The shutter speed ranges
    from 4 to 1/1400 seconds.

    The Easyshare C603/C643 adds exposure bracketing to the
    C503/C553's feature set.

    Even with all of the scene modes, the C503/C553 & C603/C643
    wouldn't appear to provide any useful way to specify faster shutter
    speeds. The ones described as modifying the shutter speed all
    lengthen it, which is the opposite of the effect that you want.
    Using a higher ISO might cause the camera to choose a faster shutter
    speed, but you'd have to try it to see if it the reduced image
    quality would be acceptable, but this still wouldn't guarantee that
    a faster shutter speed would be used.

    The Easyshare C663 differs by having 14 scene modes (none
    appearing useful for your purpose), has a wider shutter speed range
    of 8 to 1/1600 seconds, but adds the very useful P(rogram) and
    M(anual) modes, which will allow you to specify different shutter

    If your Easyshare model doesn't allow you to choose a faster
    shutter speed, your only recourse would be to brace the camera or to
    use a tripod, which would allow you to get away with using slow
    shutter speeds without ruining the shots due to excessive camera
    movement. While a large, heavy, expensive, rock-solid tripod would
    be nice to have, even a cheap, tiny, $10 tabletop tripod would help
    considerably. But if you don't want to get a tripod, try putting
    the camera on a beanbag or a sack filled with grits or rice, and
    take some shots using the shutter or the camera's self timer. If
    possible, try using different exposures (use exposure compensation),
    since with normal exposures all of the different colored bulbs might
    produce "blown highlights", giving them all the same bright white
    appearance. Reducing the exposure, while darkening the rest of the
    picture, might allow you to see the actual colors of the lights.
    ASAAR, Dec 17, 2006
  4. Dolu

    Ron Hunter Guest

    For taking pictures of Christmas lights. Try setting your camera to
    'night'. Most current Kodak cameras have this mode setting. Then find
    something to brace the camera against, as the exposure WILL be rather
    longer than most people can hand-hold. Obviously, a tripod is best, but
    you can find a wall, fence, tree, or even your car (motor OFF), to brace
    Ron Hunter, Dec 17, 2006
  5. Thanks ASAAR and everyone for responding promptly. You are right, it is very
    difficult without a tripod or other forms of support. I experimented a bit
    and discovered that instead of using any of the pre-programmed modes, the
    easisiest and best way to photograph Christmas lights is actually to use the
    "auto" mode with the following adjustments:

    1) Set camera to "auto" mode.
    2) Turn flash "off".
    3) Select iso 400. By default the "auto" mode selects an iso between 80 and
    125. My camera allowes a override to select iso, so I chose iso 400.
    4) I think this is the most important part. By default the "auto exposure" no
    matter what camera, or what mode one uses, it trys to adjust for non-
    important large dark areas of the image that results in way over exposing
    with large aperture and slow shutter speed values. Realizing this, I chose to
    bias the exposure by -2 stops. This gave me a much lower exposure including
    higher shutter speed, which in turn allowed me to control the shake - I am
    accustomed to steady hand up to 1/30 shutter speed.

    I have posted a sample at my gallery "Dolu's Gallery". Soon I hope to post
    some more.

    BTW, my camera is a low end digital, Kodak CD33 with optical zoom and it has
    the following modes:
    SCENE MODE with following options:
    Children playing in the park day time
    Party at night: indoor lights
    Night scene portrait: people foregrand with flash, and night lighted
    Fireworks at night
    Scenery on sand day light
    Scenery on snow day light

    Other features include:
    Timed exposures
    Burst mode - takes 3 quick frames to capture the moment.

    I am really impressed with all the stuff this little thing can do; but I
    really miss the full manual control.

    Dolu via PhotoKB.com, Dec 18, 2006
  6. Dolu

    ASAAR Guest

    You're welcome, and congratulations for figuring out a way to make
    your Kodak smarter than its designers intended. :) I'm surprised
    that you were able to override the ISO, since the cameras I've seen
    only allow Auto ISO when Auto mode is used. Maybe Kodak allowed the
    override because their camera has no P mode?

    I looked around PhotoKB.com and saw no links to access any
    existing photo galleries. I did see that PhotoKB would allow me to
    create a gallery if I registered, but did not say anywhere that
    registering would add the ability to access any other galleries. Do
    you have to provide gallery links to those that would see your
    photos, or is your gallery not part of PhotoKB? PhotoKB has enough
    ads on all of their web pages that I don't feel that I owe them my
    email address. :)
    ASAAR, Dec 18, 2006
  7. ASAAR, I am a brand new member at photokb and find the interface quiet
    confusing. As far as I can tell photokb is part of Advenet.Com , in fact
    photokb is a "discussion group" under Advenet.Com . Once you registered at
    photokb you are automatically registered at Advenet with same login/password ,
    and it is there that the "galleries" are hosted.

    1) Go to Advenet.Com
    2) On the "top" navigation bar click on "photos". This will take you to a
    "public" area - no login needed - where you will see the galleries of other
    members. Since my upload is most recent upload, you will see my "thumbnail"
    first on the list.

    The direct URL to my gallery - Dolu's Gallery - is

    Dolu via PhotoKB.com, Dec 18, 2006
  8. Dolu

    ASAAR Guest

    Yep, it was very easy to find your picture, both ways. It's a
    good shot and the colors came out very nicely. I don't know if you
    played around with the jpg file, but I downloaded the largest
    version, and using Irfanview (a very nice, free, small, picture
    viewer/editor) boosted the gamma, which made several nearly
    invisible objects appear. One being the wires or supports behind
    the lights. I was also able to now clearly see "Christmas Eve"
    below the lights. A bit harder to see may be a street address just
    above this, which appears to be "5828".
    ASAAR, Dec 18, 2006
  9. Hi ASAAR, Kool you played with gamma and discovered objects hiding in the
    dark. I do have Photoshop/ImageReady software. I think a big advantage of
    digital photography is the ability to easily fix defects and/or make
    enhancements for creative effects. Also the ability to check results on
    camera LCD immediately after shoot is a huge convenience. I posted few more
    photos at Dolu's Gallery, all taken without tripod, flash was used on one of
    them only to light the foreground while leaving the background in natural
    light. One other note I would like to add to my earlier observations
    regarding my success in not requiring tripod while shooting night scene is
    that I can only do this as long as I do not use tele-zoom; that would require
    more exposure (slower shutter) which would put me in the shaky hand zone.
    Dolu via PhotoKB.com, Dec 21, 2006
  10. Dolu

    John Turco Guest

    Hello, ASAAR:

    I tried what you did, and got the same results. Even without affecting
    the gamma, though, I spied a white dot, within the top-left quarter of
    the picture. (You'll need to "zoom in" slightly, to see it.)

    Presumably, it's a bad pixel, in the original poster's ("Dolu") Kodak
    CD33's image sensor. My own P850 (also a Kodak) is plagued by this
    very defect, sad to say.

    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Dec 23, 2006
  11. Dolu

    ASAAR Guest

    Yours may be a bad pixel, but Dolu's CD33 is immaculate. Based on
    its position in the sky, that dot actually appears where the star of
    Bethlehem was expected to be at 11:00pm on the 15th, eh what? I got
    this celestial info. straight from Kenny R. hisself.
    ASAAR, Dec 23, 2006
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