bishop002700 8:59am, 30 August 2007
Hi, i am new this this concept but i find night shots to be incredibly beautiful. i was wondering if anyone would like to post one or more of their favorite shots and explain:
1. how it was done
2. camera settings
3. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc.
and 4. lens and camera

i think that it would really help out people like me who are really excited to learn and soak in as much as possible from people who obviously know what they're doing. thanks so much and look forward to seeing what's posted! XD
Mr Magoo ICU Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Mr Magoo ICU (member) 11 years ago
I shoot most of my work at f8, ISO100 and whatever shutter speed required depending upon the amount of light available. This will mean most of the subject is in focus and the low ISO means less noise during long exposures. I rarely vary from this. Most of my night and urbex work is on a Canon 30D and Canon 10-22mm lens.

Lighting is most important. You can use ambient, a full moon, street lights etc. Sometimes i'll take 10million candle power rechargable torches and use them as portable lighting. I rarely use flash but mainly out of ignorance of not knowing how to use it properly.

I've just joined and added some pics. I'm happy to talk about technique used for a particular image if you like.
[Nocturne] PRO 11 years ago
Wow brent, F8. thats mad... i shoot nearly all of my stuff at f5.8 and i go to locations with no light poloution what so everb(pitch black) focusing in the dark is really hard, so either use a torch, which again for me i hard because i shoot 10-22mm and cant zoom enough to see if im in focus or not. so i shoot f3.5 at iso 1600 to see if im in focus, the rest of the time it's at iso 100. i also use a Canon 30D with a batt grip, mainly because at night its colder and drains the batt twice as fast.

my main lighting is done with flash guns, led torches, and coloured theatrical light gels. i usually leave my normal light painting exposures for 1-7 mins. depending on the subject, and amount of light being let in to the picture.

i also do star trails for about 1/2 hours. these happen because the earth rotates on it's axis, but the sky stays still. leaving the stars drawing lines on your picture. i love night photography and star trails and im willing to share any info. its always good to get new people interested.
bishop002700 11 years ago
that's great thanks a lot!.... oh, i also forgot to mention... if anyone wants to post a photo, please put it in medium (click on the photo, then medium, then copy paiste the html link) so that it's not gigantic and more manageable... thanks!

Mr. Magoo, i was wondering if u could explain to me how u took "TankHue" and how u don't get the water over-exposed. i love reflections in water but i can never expose them right, any thoughts? I also really like "Gatecrash Drain". Really great shot....

[Nocturne], I also really enjoyed your work. "Train Light Painting" is an amazing shot, any hints as to how it was done? i really like the different colors that were brought out. i also really like your skating pictures, especially "Blue Bidulph," really spectacular.

Both of you do really great work, thank you so much for your help. I'm just a beginner who is super enthusiastic about photography, any help i can get is greately appreciated! XD
Mr Magoo ICU 11 years ago
nocturne.. i used to shoot lower, like at 5.6/6.3 but found I didnt get enough depth of field. focusing in the dark is tricky but i've found a duracell torch which takes 2xC cell batteries, water proof and shock proof in ruberized casing (handy) with the brightest spot-beam at most distances up to ~15-20m. this thing is incredible.. like it was made for the job. otherwise use a red laser pointer. it's stealth in case you're in a sensitive area and cameras focus especially on light in the red spectrum. you can use it up to about 50m with a decent pointer or further distances if u have a white or reflective background. you could also shine a torch back at the camera from good distances and be able to focus, esp with LED.

bishop.. tankhue was a daytime shot, around 11am with canon 10-22 lens and circular polarizer. this is probably where you're struggling - the reflective properties of water make it difficult to expose correctly sometimes (depends what it's reflecting, also). in this case the sky is exposed reasonably well and the same is in the reflection. i adjust levels to the correct proportions so the tonal range is as close to the actual scene as possible. then some dodge and burn to bring out the tetxture detail of the ground. a little on the sky to make the dark sections darker because they were a little off.

gatecrashed drain was shot at night inside a storm water tunnel (1 of 6 actually). my friend seen sitting in the tunnel ran around inside the orange colored section lighting it up with a 10mil cp torch then sat in the tunnel with more lighting pointing away from him to create the sillouette.

most of it is trial and error.. sometimes the mistakes i make end up being a new lighting technique or atleast, a very cool looking photo.

funadium 11 years ago
bishop002700 bishop002700, I think you'll find this pretty interesting!

Frozen waves

It is a 30" exposure, f:10 to have some DOF and to get rid of high lights.
I created the JPG merging two different elaborations of a single RAW file, to have a correct exposure both of the church and of the beach.
To add some thrill, I shot a manual flash against a wave, so it is "frozen". Alas, the flash wasn't powerful enough.
bishop002700 11 years ago
[Mr Magoo ICU] thanks so much for your help... did u change the tones around with a program or were u able to set what tones to shoot in then take the picture? The problem i have is no access to an editing program so pretty much what i do with the camera is my end product, haha... also how did u get the textures to come out, was this also post-shoot? anyway, thanks so much for your help, i really appreciate it!

[funadium] i really like this shot... especially the reflection in the water is amazing and i like the idea with the flash to get the wave in there... very creative... although, like i said in the paragraph above, i don't have the money or know-how to start fiddling with pics on the computer.. i have a hard enough time with the camera! hahaha! but anyway, thanks so much for your help, it's really helpful to hear different perspectives, different styles and different ideas.

here are two shots that i took on my way home tonight... let me know what u think... i didn't really know what i was doing but did some trial and error and am fairly happy with them... they're pretty basic but please, be brutal if u must.. it's the only way i'll learn :).. thanks again for all your help, it's really great and keeps me very motivated to keep trying till i get it right! thanks again....

Late night in Numazu

They've gone plaid!!!

this one i thought was fun... it was taken with 6 second exposure at f18 with an ISO setting of 200.... please, any comments questions, criticism, hate it? love it? thanks!!! XD
rick forgo Posted 11 years ago. Edited by rick forgo (member) 11 years ago
polson park trees moon hill at night_1


Both are 80 ISO for 15 seconds at F2.8. I shoot with a compact for the most part, so depth of feild is usually not an issue (to my chagrin much of the time actually). The white balance is generally tweaked manually in Adobe Camera Raw. I tend to shoot at as long an exposure as possible (within reason) for two reasons; one, the aperture range on compact cameras is small (2.8-5.6 for me), and two, it develops beautiful tones and colours the eye doesn't usually pick up. Almost anything i take at night is at 80 ISO, as noise starts to be a problem with small sensors at much above this.
A note on RAW. I have started shooting RAW in only the past few months (as previously my camera was not capable of this), and it is incredibly nice to have that control over the final product, to not be bound by your camera manufacturer's decisions on white balance, tone, saturation, and so on. At the same time, producing a great shot all in camera is satisfying on a different level.

On the other side of the coin, however, is this one:

whirly-reel 2 (folk police remix)</

A self portrait taken on expired 800 ISO film, for about 15 seconds, no flash, with a tripod, onboard one of those spinning things they have at playgrounds. It's not "fine art" it's not sharp, and it's sure not high res, but it is one of my favorite shots ever.

And I think I;m supposed to add:
The top two were taken with Fujifilm E900. The bottom one with a Canon Rebel G and it's standard 28-90 kit lens
bishop002700 11 years ago
those are reall great...i really like the colors u got in the first 2... i also thought that the last one is really creative, really cool shot!
[Nocturne] PRO 11 years ago
right basicly, the train light painting is one of my fave pics ever. basicly, i composed my shot correctly, then my friend went inside the train, and hid out of my shot, with his Canon speedlite 580EX with a purple/blue gel over the bulb head and flashed it several times. there fore projecting the blue out of the windows. creating, light painting.
62Fleetside 11 years ago
I taught surveillance photography, which of course dealt heavily with night photography, esp w/o the use of flash. My users had night vision optics they could fall back on in a pinch, but I forced them to shoot straight night photos.

One of my greatest challenges was facial recognition in a lighted room at night from better than 500 yards with extreme long telephoto lenses. Probably the best I've seen involved a 600mm with 2x on a D60 Canon (1800mm effectively).

Through a dirty window at probably 500ft my shooter was able to tell me what was written on the back wall of the office and give me a solid description of the lone man working in the office.

So, what's the trick?

I just tell them to practice shooting indoors, in an average lit room, then apply the same settings to a night shot into a similarly lit room. Of course they have to use Manual to override the camera sensor's inability to deal with poor lighting or insufficient contrast (highlight too small to register effectively in the meter). Once they get one shot like that they tend to go nuts and shoot every thing they can at night.

And no, none of the above has ANYTHING WHATSOEVER to do with porno, peeping Tom nastiness, or general lewd behavior.

I used to love shooting B&W film at night. 30min exposures of fieldstone churches, bridges and the like. Very interesting, from shooting to processing and printing.
bishop002700 11 years ago
you mention 30min exposures... i was wondering how those are done without making a light completely take over.. does it pretty much have to be completely dark? it seems like whenever i do a long exposer (more than like 10 seconds), all the street lights or something like that completely take over my shot.. any advice?
night photographer 11 years ago
bishop - we're talking miles from any streetlights!

I've found without any light sources, i.e. no moon, and no flashes, you can get a correctly exposed 30 minute exposure at around iso200 f5.6. When there is no light around you can over expose the image slightly then bring it down in raw conversion to reduce noise and add contrast.
Noel Kerns Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Noel Kerns (member) 11 years ago
Bishop - this image was a 10 minute exposure at f/8 at ISO 100 under partial moonlight (meaning about a 3/4 moon).
funadium Posted 11 years ago. Edited by funadium (member) 11 years ago
This one was made in total darkness, apart town lights a mile away:

Olympus C760Z, 100 ISO, 15 seconds, f:3.2, b/w camera mode.
At naked eye it was almost impossible to see the house.
th3g 11 years ago
Taken in full moon.
8min exposure ISO100 F7.1

along the ridge
bishop002700 11 years ago
noel kerns
-wow! great shot!... i live out in the countryside so i'll definitely try something liek that soon... as soon as it stops raining here and i get a tripod.. haha
-very cool... unfortunately for me, in Japan there are pretty much lights everywhere.. haha
-Really cool shot! it doesn't really look like night at all! wow!

thanks for all the helps so far... i definitely have some things to try... i'll let u know what i come up with when i have more upload space on flickr... haha! thanks again everyone!
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