Tips on Shooting at Night

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Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby mrconductor55 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:00 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have been looking around or some tips on shooting at night. I actually just tried shooting at night for the first time. I was actually pretty satified with it. The shot shows an EMD SW9 laying over on a siding near a steal mill, the lights in the parking lot shined on it for the most part, so I shot with no flash so that I wouldn't over illuminate the engine, and all of its reflective tape. I used a tripod, but I was looking for some tips on shooting a moving train. I shoot full manual with my Canon Rebel XS and 18-55mm lens.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Frank

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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby 3rdrail » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:49 pm

Hi Frank !
I'm a big fan of "available light" with a tripod. My "tripod" is usually not what you would think of. I have used small bean bags, my chest while I'm 45 degrees backwards leaning on a fence, etc. In both of these shots, I liked the way that the mercury vapor lights illuminated the side of the S.T.C.U.M. diesel, but left the front in darkness- save for it's headlight and swirling steam vapor in the 1st shot, and give a hint of the amber warm glow inside the car in the 2nd. I probably would have missed this glow had I used a flash. I think that this process gives it a cold, moody effect. The lamps gave the shot a slight color shift to green, but I don't think that it's that noticeable or spoils the shot. In my opinion, the shots would not have been as good with a flash. I use my flash only for vintage signs, etc. which are being shot for documentary purposes, but for most else, don't use it.

http://naphotos.nerail.org/showpic/?pho ... ullman0517

http://naphotos.nerail.org/showpic/?pho ... ullman0517
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby trainlvr7 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:46 pm

I really enjoy shooting at night time. I really like keeping the shutter open for 5 seconds or so and letting the train get blurred. I have so of my pics on my website

http://www.chrishennessy.com
CDOT Definitely needs some new engines...
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby Chessie GM50 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:13 am

I personally would go for a 15/1 second exposure, VR (or whatever canon calls it, I think Image Stabilizer) off, manuel focus & an ISO of 200. The aperture not completely stopped up is good, have it somewhere around f/7.1, which is my usual setting for my d60.

Good Luck!
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby madcrow » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:25 pm

If you find yourself shooting at the long end of your zoom more often then not, you may find the Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens to be useful. It's more than 3 stops faster than the long end of your zoom, which means that if you're able to shoot a train at say, 1/15 sec with your current lens, you'll be able to shoot it at 1/125 with the new lens. The best thing of all is that the 50/1.8 is under $100. You lose the zoom, but you get so much more low light flexibility that you'll hardly miss it.

Link to buy: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1 ... f_1_8.html
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby pennsy » Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:11 pm

The tripod should have a pan and tilt head. You also want a cable release for the camera. One that can be locked would also be a good idea, for really long exposures. A stopwatch would also come in handy.
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby RAS » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:57 pm

There is a discussion of the use of manual focus non-zoom lenses on a digital SLR for night photography in the text accompanying an article on some of the NJT former Lackawanna M&E stations in the April 2009 issue of Railroads Illustrated magazine pages 42 through 59.

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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby Tracer » Wed May 13, 2009 9:26 pm

Ive only taken a few night shots so i am learning....I was happy with the photo in the link but i was wondering why the red lights and number lights were blurred, the train was stopped and i was useing a tripod 13 sec - iso 100 -f9 Any suggestions?


Heres a link to the photo: http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... =1&key=tom
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 13, 2009 10:41 pm

There was some movement in that photo. I'm going with the fact that the vibration of the engine caused a slight movement with your camera through the tripod. Do you have nice thick solid rubber feet on your tripod ? Also, check your tripod and camera connections to make sure all is tight. Blur shows up with lit objects before unlit ones. It's still a nice photo.
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby mxdata » Thu May 14, 2009 2:46 pm

In the linked photo it looks like the front of the camera took a small dip right at the start of the exposure then bounced back up. Was the shutter button operated by hand with the camera on the tripod rather than using a remote shutter release?

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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby Tracer » Thu May 14, 2009 9:16 pm

Yeah its my tripod moving, but i didnt think it moved enough to cause a problem. I bought a cheap tripod and it flexes a tiny bit at the camera when i push the shutter. I'll have to invest in a remote shutter.

Thanks
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby mxdata » Thu May 14, 2009 10:37 pm

If your camera has provision for self timer that is adjustable, you can use that to take tripod night shots. Set the interval between pressing the shutter button and the camera firing to the absolute minimum (usually two seconds) and it is almost as good as having a remote shutter. I use my pocket digital frequently this way at night. For my digital SLR, I usually use a wired remote shutter release.

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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby 3rdrail » Thu May 14, 2009 11:21 pm

Triker wrote:Yeah its my tripod moving, but i didnt think it moved enough to cause a problem. I bought a cheap tripod and it flexes a tiny bit at the camera when i push the shutter. I'll have to invest in a remote shutter.

Thanks


Yup, if your tripod is moving (even inperceptibly) and you're triggering the shutter with your hand, there's a lot of movement there. Much more than you think. Take care of those two things and you will have much steadier pictures.
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby NYSW3000 » Mon May 25, 2009 6:52 pm

I shot some night photos saturday night using my sony a200 on a tripod on manual . what i did was use the 10 second timer and hope the shutter would close before the locomotive passed me. It would be easyer If I would have set the camera on the right setting set the shutter / exposer for 40 secconds and have the timer on for 5 secconds. the problem is I don't think I can change the timer to go off in 5 secconds . Does anybody know a better way to get better night shots?

http://nysw3022.rrpicturearchives.net/s ... id=1613132

http://nysw3022.rrpicturearchives.net/s ... id=1613138

http://nysw3022.rrpicturearchives.net/s ... id=1613137
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Re: Tips on Shooting at Night

Postby mxdata » Mon May 25, 2009 9:33 pm

As was noted in an earlier posting, the April 2009 issue of Railroads Illustrated has an 18-page night photography feature with a pretty detailed introduction describing the equipment and techniques used.

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