Very Low Light Photos for C&C

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Keleko, May 5, 2011.

  1. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    The night before Easter my church had an Easter Vigil service. Most of the service is done by candle light, so it is very dark and difficult to take pictures. But, that didn't stop me from trying! I can't use a flash, and I was only able to use a tripod during the indoor portion of the service. Outdoor there was too much moving around and too close quarters to even consider using one, and I don't own a monopod. I didn't have a very fast lens (3.5-5.6 18-135mm kit lens), either. I could have borrowed a 70-200 F/2.8L, but the setting mostly called for wider angles than that lens would allow.

    So, here are my shots from that evening. Personally I'm pleased with how they turned out despite the darkness, high ISO, low shutter speed and lots of hand-held. What do you think?

    I took this shot and noticed it was 1/10s shutter after I'd shot it. I figured there was no way it was going to turn out, and I didn't bother to take any more during this part. The only light are the lights by the doorway and a safety parking lot light for the front. I was rather surprised it came out as well as it did when I downloaded it to my computer.

    Vigil Candle by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 1/10s, 33mm, f/5.6, ISO 6400

    This is the only tripod candlelit shot I got of the service. I tried this several times, and this is the only one that didn't have anyone walking and leaving a candlelight trail. After the entrance hymn was sung, all the congregation held candles were blown out leaving just the ones around the podium, and that was much too dark to take pictures of.

    Candlelight Service by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 5s, 18mm, f/8, ISO 200

    This is one of my favorites of the night. It is also one of the few that the 70-200 would have worked if I had used it. The only available light is the candles everyone is holding.

    Candles in the Garden by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 1/13s, 106mm, f/5.6, ISO 6400

    This one I'm not so sure I was in the right spot. I got outside to the garden late, so I was positioned behind the person being baptized and couldn't see his face. However, I like the angle I got of the water pouring, the pastor, and the people across the lawn watching. And it was a plus that I was close and able to use wide angle and the most open aperture for my lens. Still, I have a feeling it would be better if I had at least a profile of his face.

    Candlelight Baptism by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 1/20s, 18mm, f/3.5, ISO 6400

    Another shot that has mostly streetlight, parking lot lights, and passing car headlights (I think) on the pastor. I like how the the shadows of the surrounding plants provide a pattern on his white robe from whatever available light there was on him. Also one of my favorites.

    Reading Before Entering by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 1/20s, 18mm, f/3.5, ISO 6400

    As we came back inside the lights are on now, and I went back to the tripod. As everyone circled in around the altar I wanted to capture their movement and have those already in place not moving to give a sense of the dynamics of the scene. My dislike is the lone soundboard person in the back. I was upstairs in the choir loft, and there wasn't really another angle I could get at this time. I've tried some different crops to remove him, but none of them really work for me. The problem is all the people are coming in from the left, so I feel I need that portion of the frame as the entry point into the picture.

    Circling the Altar by Gerg1967, on Flickr
    EXIF: 1s, 18mm, f/8, ISO 800
  2. stradale33 macrumors member


    Aug 27, 2010
    I think they look really impressive, especially with a kit lense and some hand held.

    Looking at the pictures I really got the sense of it being a community experience - the Baptism shot for example might have been from behind the guy being baptisted but you caught everyone in the background so got the sense of it being a public / community event.

    Thanks for sharing.
  3. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Love your favourite with the candles and the final image.

    ISO 6400 looks really clean on the 60d! I agree that the 70-200 would have been too tight probably.

    I think you have definitely made the best of the situation!
  4. Keleko thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    These were de-noised some in Adobe Camera Raw, too. The original RAWs are much noisier. But, with the low light all around, there wasn't much detail to lose when applying the noise reduction.
  5. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
  6. Fujiko7 macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    London UK
    These are great - really interesting use of light. I love the movement in the last one.
  7. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    I agree with the others. Excellent low light performance by both camera and photographer! I also really like the last one with the motion blur.

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