What did I forget whilst taking this photo?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Gloor, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Gloor macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007

    I went out for my first ever night shooting with my friends tripod and the results are not so good. I tried to do both - aperture preference and set it really high (22 i believe) or shutter preference and i set the time between 30secs to 20 or so.

    This is probably my best shot but it still doesn't look so sharp and nice. What did I probably mess up or what do you think I overlooked?

    RAW originals:

  2. ronjon10 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2009
    Can you convert those to jpegs and repost? I don't really want to download and fiddle with the raw files.

    Without having seen them, you probably don't want to be shooting at f22. F8 should give you all the depth of field you need while still getting the camera light.

    If they aren't sharp, you're most likely getting camera shake during the long exposures
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I can view them in OS X preview but they won't open in PS CS4. What camera did you shoot with?

    In the preview it looks like they're a bit unsharp to me. This could be due to the lens or the camera. It is not completely lacking sharpness.
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I haven't looked at the photos, but what kind of tripod was it and how did you release the shutter? On an inexpensive tripod, the camera can move a bit, especially if there is a breeze. This matters on long exposures. Similarly, manually pressing the shutter release button can shake the camera enough at the start of a long exposure to cause some fuzziness.
  5. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    Here you go

    I shoot with D90 with kit lens (18-105).

    I'm new to this but I was testing few things out and especially after reading Understanding Exposure :)

    Attached Files:

  6. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    I set the camera to delayed shutter so I pressed the button and moved away so the camera doesn't get any shake from me pressing it. After 30secs ( I think) the shutter opened and then closed accordingly to chosen speed.

    As I don't have remote release I thought this would be the best approach to minimise the shake :)
  7. azboricua macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2009
    Did you have Autofocus on? It looks like your camera had a hard time focusing.
  8. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    Yes I did. Remember that at least 4 points out of all 11 were picked up (focused)
  9. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Its not that unsharp, how ever I would perhaps looking at manual focusing when doing this. Are you using a cheap UV filter as well? As it looks to have created some nice ghosting on your images?
  10. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    I am using cheap UV filter so I guess you want me to throw it away, right? ( I paid $14 for it)

    I will try the manual focus but that might take me a while as I have never tried that before :)))
    Will be fun.

    Shall I get polarized filter instead? I am just a bit worried that the lens might get scratched but others might tell me if that actually happens or not. ( I usually take pictures and then when I'm done I put the lid on so the chance are small but I am over cautious here)
  11. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    You bought a DSLR (presumably) so you could take better pictures. Take the cheap filter off and save it for days when you are in blowing sand.

    How often does stuff touch the front of your lens? If you really must have something, a hood offers protection and can help reduce flare, put your money there.

    If you want a polarized filter for a specific reason get one, but it is not a great filter to leave on your lens (and again, cheap=crappy images). Unfortunately good filters will cost about what your kit lens is worth, I would avoid filters for a while.
  12. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Don't throw it away, but take it off for a while and use a lens hood. If your wondering what those stray bits of light in the top left hand corner is, its your UV filter causing it. If you want to use one, get a more expensive multi coated one.

    As for a polarising filter, have some research into what it does and how or why or when to use one. Nothing wrong with being cautious, but the hood will give you great protection.

    EDIT: Forgot to say, manual focusing is easy when using a tripod or a still moving object. Just switch the switch on the side of lens from AF to MF and have a play!
  13. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    Thank you guys. I was wondering about those lights on top left corner as I couldn't see anything with my eye on the scene so was confused what caused it. Will save the filter for the sand then :)

    Will come back soon with some results I hope :))

    Thank you
  14. azboricua macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2009
    Also did you have VR or IS on? If you did turn it off. It will try to correct something that is not there, camera shake, since you are using a tripod. It is also very possible headlights from oncoming traffic interfered with your focusing. If available, go back, and try manual focus, no VR or IS, UV filter off. Experiment, I take tons of photos, and remember to use the on camera zoom to inspect your photos for focus, sharpness, glare, ghosting. I'm not a pro, but it sounds like your problems are very simple to fix.

    good luck!
  15. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    Thank you. It was on my holiday in Prague and I will not be going there before April but I will test it out again. Also, the weather will be warmer as this one was bloody freezing :)))
  16. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
  17. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2009
    I was going to blame traffic vibration. A good tripod helps, VR won't help. But I suppose it depends on the local traffic at the time. I remember Prague being like a race-track during the day, but at night it was only the taxis that were setting land speed records.
  18. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    How did you find prague? I'm off there next week for my first time! Looks cold!:eek:
  19. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    Prague is always beautiful. Its cold there now but you will love it. I was born there so thats why I go there quite often (to see my family) :)
    I live in London and that is not as good historically as Prague. Its like little Paris.

    You will love it
  20. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    It may look less than sharp as well because the camera does not apply sharpening to the file. You have to do that in your post processing yourself. The camera does it automatically for jpegs.
  21. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Cheers I can't wait, flying out Valentines day with the girlfriend for a week! Anything to check out apart from the obvious places? I would recommend you have a look in your library or amazon forUnderstanding Exposure and look at shooting in Manual. This book is so easy to read, and I hate reading books. Helps alot!
  22. azboricua macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2009
    This is a little better. And I cropped it, the blown out side of a building was very distracting. I'm at work but I think I can remove the flare or whatever that is at home with better software. I only have ViewNX at work.

  23. Gloor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    I have the book and almost finished it. :)

    Well, never take taxis of the street and always call one from your phone or if you really have to get one then either AAA taxi or CITY TAXI. I always call CITY TAXI as they are really solid and its cheaper if you order by phone (257 257 257 is the number but you might need to put +420 so the number will be +420 257 257 257 i think) They have menu in english and are nice. Taxis are problem in Prague as they try to rob foreigners a lot so make sure you use those 2 companies or you call one. Also, the price per km should be less than 30 CZK so always check the price on their door first. I think its like 40CZK to get in the car and then maximum 30CZK for km - CITY TAXI has 24CZK per km if you order by phone I seem to remember. My dad has a cheap pub if you would like to go for a drink but it might not be so romantic for your girlfriend as it is normal pub (not restaurant as they don't serve food) Let me know if you want to know more. Perhaps by PM as that will be better :)))

    Otherwise enjoy and update me on your photos so i can see the difference ;)))
  24. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Great job!
  25. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Nobody has mentioned what is most likely the real cause of the problem.

    The OP stopped down his lens too far. As you stop down more and more, diffraction effects will cause the image to lose sharpness. This is not a gear problem, it is caused by fundamental optical physics. If you do a google search for the subject you will find explanations better than I can summarize here. As a general rule in my experience you'll start to notice loss of sharpness in your image if you are stopping down past around f/16 on a DX body. Things like this are a good reason to become familiar with depth of field calculations and hyperfocal shooting, in order to prevent excessive stopping down when not necessary. Sometimes you can't help it but sometimes you can, and I think this was one of those times when you could have.

    Anyways, beyond what softening there is from diffraction, the following may have contributed to the soft looking RAW:
    -Focus. Make sure you're selecting the right part of the image to focus on, such that you are not wasing your depth of field, and that it is correctly and accurately set.
    -Lack of post processing. Looking at the NEF there will be no sharpening applied. I'm sure once you post process these shots and apply some sharpening, you will be much more impressed by the result.

    Because you were wondering, here's a good checklist for tripod usage:
    1) turn IS/VR off (unless your lens has a VR mode specifically for tripods, as some do)
    2) do not extend center column unless necessary
    3) extension on 2, do not extend legs beyond what is necessary (#2 and #3 are especially important for cheap tripods whose stability is not the greatest)
    4) Use mirror lock up (or exposure delay mode as it should be called on the D90)
    5) use delay self-timer if you do not have a remote release. I use 2 seconds which is plenty if your camera is properly stabilized and you use a gentle touch on the shutter button.
    6) if there is going to be wind or environmental vibrations that might affect image sharpness, try leaning on your tripod a little to put some weight on it and help keep it stable. Or if available, hang a bag with some rocks or sand from the tripod to increase its weight. This will help keep a tripod steady in a windy shoot so long as your tripod is stable and of good quality.

    Regarding the lens flare. The UV filter definitely was not helping here! If your lens came with a detachable hood, that will probably protect your lens against damage better than the filter can. If you will be too bothered by shooting without the filter then leave it on but be cognizant of situations (like this) when it will cause flare, and remove it for those shots.

    Hope this helps


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