Night time extended exposure advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pmxperience, May 12, 2012.

  1. pmxperience macrumors regular

    pmxperience

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #1
    Hi, I'm going to be trying my hand at extended exposure pretty soon. Wanted to get some advice on how to approach this settings wise. Lens recommendations would be nice as well. I have a Canon 550D, 50mm 1.8, 18-55mm, and 55-250mm to start out with… and of course a tripod :) Thanks all!!!
     
  2. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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  3. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #3
    Easy.. its mostly trial and go for everyone...Everyone has their own approach and their own settings.
    Personally I would start with ISO 100, manual exposure for 1 second and see what the shot looks like, after that.. crank up the time... if your want to shoot stars without trails then 10seconds is the maximum and shoot at ISO 800 to fill the night sky :) if you want trails, then 30 seconds is the minimum...
    it also depends how much ambient light there is etc.

    Its a play with dials and settings and there isn't really a golden rule.. manual shutter and as low ISO as possible is about the only advice I can think of...
     
  4. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    #4
    As said above, go with ISO 100 and let the shutter stay open for a long time, perhaps longer than you think is necessary.

    Turn the brightness on your LCD al the way down, if you don't it is easy to think the exposure is brighter then it really is.

    Try to get the histogram as far to the right as you can without blowing out important parts of the picture, if you have light sources in the frame then you will blow them out, don't be afraid of that. Once you get the photo on the computer, it is easier to bring the exposure back down than to bring it up.
     
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    Use the shutter delay, 10 sec is best, to minimize the shake that will come from pressing the shutter button, or use a remote shutter release.
     
  6. someoldguy macrumors 65816

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    Aug 2, 2009
    Location:
    usa
    #6
    tripod , cable release , low iso , shoot Av with f stop set at around f8 . If you're shooting a land(or city)scape ,and have the time and a location which allows , set up when its just starting to get dark , focus manually and then don't touch the lens , take a shot every 15 min. or so until it's dark ,
     
  7. pmxperience thread starter macrumors regular

    pmxperience

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    Aug 12, 2011
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    United States
    #7
    Thanks a lot. I'm actually setting up in a place known as a "mini las Vegas". So needless to say there will be a lot of lights. I also have a fairly high vantage point. I'll post pics of my endeavor so long as I don't crash and burn first…
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #8
    A lot really depends on what you want "exposed" in a photo like that. The sides of buildings; The lights themselves; The sky; The stars in the sky; The trail of tail-lights of cars moving down a road.

    For each case you would expose somewhat differently. In the days of film photographers who did this kind of work actually knew how to meter the scene to get a starting point exposure. [/Old Fart Rant]

    If you don't already know, experiment to see how far you can push the ISO before noise becomes objectionable with your camera. That sets the ISO limit.

    If you want the sides of buildings/roads showing in the photo you can meter those from close up under the same lighting conditions as the photo you want to take to get a more accurate meter reading. (i.e. walk around the town and meter off the buildings and roads)
    This meter reading is more accurate because you will have eliminated the very bright lights that would also be in frame (and potentially confusing the light meter) when metering from your location. Note that metering these surfaces will give you the exposure for a mid-tone. You may want to under-expose a few stops to get more lights into range of the sensors. Take multiple meter readings from close up to a sense of the average. Once you have a starting point you can then just adjust the F/Stops and Shutterspeeds to get the trail effects ... and to bracket since this is simply a starting point.

    The other advice above are also good, about keeping the camera from shaking etc.

    Watch out for condensation on the lense. If it's chilly make sure your batter is fully charged before you go out. Keep your spare battery in an inside pocket to keep it warm. If you do prematurely exhaust the 1st battery, put it into an inside pocket to warm it up and it will bounce back.

    Clear skies (preferable for the photo) can make for very chilly nights. Take a pee break before you head out. Keep your feet warm! And your hands. Dress warm. Now I sound like a den-mother.

    Luck.
     
  9. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    #9
    There are some gloves that have no finger tips, but have a mitten that can flop over your finger tips, get a pair. I have them and LOVE them, I can poke just one or two fingers out to work the buttons and the rest of my hand stays warm. I found mine at a mom-and-pop truck stop, but I'd bet you can find them at any place that sell some winter gear.
     
  10. PodPacker, May 13, 2012
    Last edited: May 13, 2012

    PodPacker macrumors regular

    PodPacker

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    #10
    Tips

    If you don't have a remote shutter release, use the camera timer to take the picture to limit camera shake. Two seconds should be enough, that way you can quick count in your head to try to time your shots (five seconds if you are freakishly worried about camera shake). The longer the wait, the harder it will be to time your shots with cars and/or people in the frame. Use a low ISO to reduce noise. Don't shoot too late in the evening if you have sky in your image and are shooting color and play with your white balance temperature to enhance the colors of artificial lights.

    [​IMG]

    Passing Me By
    A homeless man sits with a late dinner as New York continues all around him.

    Nikon D300 with Tokina 11-16mm
    F 15 1 sec
     
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #11
    That's a great shot. Thanks for sharing....:)
     
  12. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #12
    I'd also consider using Mirror Lockup (Custom Function 8 according to Google) to reduce shake.
     
  13. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #13
    Actually a good rule of thumb is 600 / focal length to avoid star trails. (Account for crop factor as well.) So on a full frame camera with a 50mm lens you can go a max of 12 seconds, 25 seconds for 24mm and 2 seconds for 300mm.

    Recently I shot 720 frames at 25 seconds each every 30 seconds trying to catch some meteors. Only got one small blip but the images stacked nicely for a six hour star trail. :)
     
  14. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    the cold dark north
    #14
    hmm.. after 10 seconds I noticed that stars tend to become oval shape upon close inspection.... but close enough :)
     
  15. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #15
    As I said it is a good rule of thumb - use it at a starting point. What camera, lens and focal length were you using?
     
  16. NatalieJohn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #16
    I have just started Night time photography and I am having a little problem, I cant seem to work the histogram properly at night time. I understand that I need it in the Mid tones areas but I can't seem to get it at a Mountain, it just stayed in the 0 area (Black Pixels) I can't get it in mid tones any I dear how to do this ????
     
  17. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #17
    Post a sample of what you are trying to photograph.
     
  18. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #18
    a couple of suggestions:

    1) use rule of 1/3's for foreground/sky balance when you desire to capture both. Capturing foreground correctly IMO truly enhances astrophotography shots.

    2) I've done a lot of astrophotography shots, this thread captures my "top 10", with images and camera/lens settings, you might find it helpful
    Top 10 in 2010 to shoot (Astronomy, non telescope)

    3) experiment, take notes, learn, and above all have fun!
     

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