Time Lapse B/W Photography Advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by leftbanke7, May 15, 2006.

  1. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    West Valley City, Utah
    #1
    Sorry about putting this post here. It's not technically digital photography but this forum was about as close as there was.

    Anywho. I use a Pentaz PZ-70 SLR when I go out and do my thing. I am no pro by any means and I think even amature may even be a little high. However, the type of photography I generally like to do are time lapse photos at night. One problem I run into though is that when I take the picture, any light source in the frame (street light, building lighting) tends to, for a lack of better term, blow out. My friend with the exact same camera can usually get the surrounding lighting to make a star effect with minimal light blobbing.

    So, I am looking for suggestions on what I can do or what I can change in my photo habits to get the desired effect.

    What I can tell you about my photo habits:

    - I generally use 400 speed film because when I get the urge to go out, it is at night and any and all film stores are closed and the local grocery store tends to only sell 400 speed B/W.
    - I couldn't tell you what f-stop I set my camera on as, sadly, I never took the time to write down what I am doing while I am doing it. My camera has the following settings: 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 (I imagine that is standard).
    - I own a couple of filters (Diffuser, Polarizer and one of those frou frou filters that make the edges of the image soft). Unsure if they would do anything for me considering what it is I do.

    So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Gnorn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    The Tavern, Thornwood
    #2
    A lot of factors add up towards a succesful nightshot.

    Do you develop your films yourself? If so, I suggest reading the books by Ansel Adams (a master of B&W photography): ... there a great read anyway :)

    - The Camera
    - The Negative
    - The Print

    Published by Little, Brown and Company (at least back then, when I followed photography lessons at school).

    The succes has a lot to do with the 'zones' of exposure, but also (and especially) the reciprocity effect. I'm pretty sure wikipedia, or the interweb, has info on that, in a much better way than I can put down here... ;)

    Good luck!

    -Gnorn

    Edit: the star effect ( * <-- like that) is most certainly obtained by using a special filter. Lights don't show up as stars in real life (and therefor, on film).
     
  3. leftbanke7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    West Valley City, Utah
    #3
    After I got done posting, I both looked at a bunch of my friend's work and did some reading online. His stuff wasn't quite as I remembered it and this is probably due to me being overly critical of my own work.

    I wish I did my own developing but the landlord already said no to that idea so I am stuck with trusting others with the developing of my prints.

    There seems to be some differing views on what type of film is the best to use. One guy says that he only uses slide film while others say that TMax 100 or 400 is alright to use. I did see that the film I use is not a very good film so that will be the first thing I do is to go get some TMax. And, of course, they say that you MUST write down what you do that will be the other thing I do....bring pen and paper.
     
  4. Gnorn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    The Tavern, Thornwood
    #4
    The type of film -slide, daylight, tungsten- is at first a personal taste, so don't let that bother you. What counts is the end result. Note that slide films have a shorter exposure range as opposed to negative. But then again, with slide film, the film, in many cases, is the end result. With negative, you first have to print it on paper.

    When I was at school I used Kodak Tri-X 400 for all of my b&w photo's. This is a very general, but very forgiving film. I loved it.

    When getting your film developed and your photo's printed at a photo shop, remember that there's nothing you can do to affect the final picture (like dodging and burning-in). Those are the technics that really give your b&w picture the personal touch. You can really highlight your subject.

    Regarding to nightshots, you really shout dig into the reciprocity effect. This means that with long exposures the film reacts differently to the light recieved, as opposed to quick shots. Most professional films (Tri-X as well if I remember) come with a sheet on how to deal with this, how to adjust your exposure time.
     
  5. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #5
    You do not necessarily need a special filter to create the starburst effect. There are filters available that will do this, some of which in my opinion look very cheesy. The key to getting this effect without filters is to use a small aperture (lager f-stop number.) There is a relationship between the number of blades in the lens' iris to the number of points on the starburst (6 blades/6 points, 5 blades/10 points etc.) My guess is that you are using a wide aperture which will give you blobs. Take a few shots at f16 or f22 and see if that gives you what you want.
     
  6. Gnorn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    The Tavern, Thornwood
    #6
    Mmm yes, but... f22... at night :confused:

    ;)
     
  7. leftbanke7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    West Valley City, Utah
    #7
    I tend to take pictures in generally well lit areas so at 20-30 seconds, this may not be a bad idea to try.
     
  8. PBGPowerbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    yes what seems to be a 'star effect' is just diffraction around the aperture blades...put it on f22 maybe 16 on a tripod, and expose. i dont know if that camera has autoexposure, but if not, just try 30 seconds, one minute, two minutes on consecutive frames and see how they turn out. make some notes, or just remember approximately what works.

    big aperture available light photogrpahy is great, fun as hell, but stop down and tripod it (or handhold on bulb for a minute or two!) and see what you like. you might reduce the 'blowing out' of light sources too...
     
  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9

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