Old 07-13-2011, 05:20 AM   #1
Soo 6060
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Default Anyone ever try a still night shot?

After a little work and trial and error, I've been able to pull off a couple of still night shots using just the light from the station platform:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/6074027...in/photostream

http://www.flickr.com/photos/6074027...in/photostream

I'm not looking to get these on the site, I'm just looking for any input for taking still night shots, and how I can improve. Maybe advice on a better photo editor and grain remover? I've been using Picasa 3, and Neat-Image for a grain remover tool.

Both of those were shot at ISO 1600, 1/200 and f3.5, in JPEG only.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:22 AM   #2
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Jean Marc Frybourg and Travis Dewitz have some on here. Not bad results, though a video would have probably been more worthwhile if you were trying to capture the power.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikos1 View Post
Jean Marc Frybourg and Travis Dewitz have some on here. Not bad results, though a video would have probably been more worthwhile if you were trying to capture the power.
Yeah, I've been taking vids alongside the night shots. I need to get my hands on a real camcorder, as my point and shoot which I use for vids is a piece of TRASH for night videos! But yeah, I'm just experimenting around with the night shots. I'll have to go check out Travis's shots, he generally has very nice stuff.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:57 AM   #4
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Here's an attempt from my trip to KC on Memorial Day weekend. I didn't really know what to expect, and it came out way underexposed.
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File Type: jpg IMG_8661_edited-1.jpg (193.0 KB, 171 views)
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:13 AM   #5
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That wouldve looked way better as a time exposure imo, and they need to fix the sign....
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:19 AM   #6
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I think they fixed the sign the next night, and it was fine a week ago when I went to KC.

And don't worry, I've already tried a longer exposure at that spot. This one was from April 24th, 2010, before chasing the 844 the first time:
Image © Jake B.
PhotoID: 342534
Photograph © Jake B.


Here's a cool Dewitz shot. I tried to get up to that spot, but I just couldn't find a way. Travis, how did you get up there?
Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 368412
Photograph © Travis Dewitz
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:09 AM   #7
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They look good, except for being underexposed. I've never tried it, however, I've been here for 3 years and I don't even have a long exposure in the database..

Anyway If your camera looks clean at ISO 3200 and if you have a lens that would stop down to f/2.8 the results might be better, but I believe you should find a place that has a few extra street lamps.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #8
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That's going to be difficult considering the way you are shooting that. You are shooting at an almost head-on direction into a train which has all it's lights on full, that is a recipe for disaster. Your only options are going to be high iso, wide open and shorter shutter speeds. That means you have to have very good equipment.

Normally for night shots, I recommend low ISO, smaller apertures and longer exposures, that will not work for your shots.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:13 PM   #9
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Yeah, lots of people do stills at night. Your shots are quite underexposed; as Troy notes, head-on views with bright headlights can be difficult to get to come out well. The most important item to have for these type of shots a good, stable tripod; less-than-excellent camera equipment can be worked around with longer shutter speeds and lower ISO values so long as there's no risk of your camera shaking on the tripod. Get a cable release, too, to further avoid introducing movement. Don't trust simply looking at your camera's preview screen to see how the images turn out: at night, the display will appear much brighter than during the day, fooling you into thinking an underexposed shot does look good. In histogram we trust.

Here's a sample of what I've done at night with non-moving subjects at a variety of focal lengths:
Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 364604
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 364439
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 357915
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 342673
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 337940
Photograph © David Honan


If you do have halfway decent gear, you can even get acceptable results without any support:
Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 310019
Photograph © David Honan
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:23 PM   #10
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I think he primarily is talking about moving subjects?
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlgevo51 View Post

Here's a cool Dewitz shot. I tried to get up to that spot, but I just couldn't find a way. Travis, how did you get up there?
Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 368412
Photograph © Travis Dewitz
There are two dirt roads that go up there on the back side. Might be marked private so you know. The last time I was up there they were moving dirt around, maybe for a new building and it was also very muddy.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:16 PM   #12
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What kind of night shots are you for advice on? Hand held, long exposure, stopping action? There are many different ways to approach different circumstances. Let me know what you are focusing on and we can go from there.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
After a little work and trial and error, I've been able to pull off a couple of still night shots.....
No, you weren't. There is nothing about those shots which should make you think you pulled them off with the possible exception of stoppig what you implied was a moving train. (Not sure we should believe just your word.) The shots are horribly grainy and very underexposed. There is a reason Gary Knapp and others throw a lot of light at moving trains at dark -- to light them up. Your shots are dark.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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Nothing $5000 in strobes won't fix.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
No, you weren't. There is nothing about those shots which should make you think you pulled them off with the possible exception of stoppig what you implied was a moving train. (Not sure we should believe just your word.) The shots are horribly grainy and very underexposed. There is a reason Gary Knapp and others throw a lot of light at moving trains at dark -- to light them up. Your shots are dark.
Yeah, but we're talking about for Flickr purposes, here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
What kind of night shots are you for advice on? Hand held, long exposure, stopping action? There are many different ways to approach different circumstances. Let me know what you are focusing on and we can go from there.
I'm trying to stop the action. Same thing I'd do in the day time, but at night.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
I'm trying to stop the action. Same thing I'd do in the day time, but at night.
Three approaches:

1) artificial light, so you can get the shutter speed to stop the action
Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 368306
Photograph © Travis Dewitz

Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 346061
Photograph © Travis Dewitz

2) find a scene where there are interesting things that are lit or provide light, and shoot that, such as this shot already in the thread
Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 368412
Photograph © Travis Dewitz

3) accept the dark and make something of it, possibly with some blur of the train
Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 367745
Photograph © Travis Dewitz

Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 349318
Photograph © Travis Dewitz


Yes, Travis knows what he is doing.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #17
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I will pile on in the praise of Travis. I'm pretty sure he is one of the best, if not the best, photographers who regularly contributes to this site. His work is incredible and it always amazes me what he churns out. My all-time favorite shot on this site is one of his (his most-viewed actually)...

Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 306978
Photograph © Travis Dewitz


The funny thing is that this shot is quite relevant to our discussion.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:33 PM   #18
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Thank you!!

When shooting at night, I love to add the sense of motion, so I shoot a lot at 1/15th - 1/30th. To stop action at night you need to use multiple flashes, pan or pace, or have a well lit area and a slow moving train. A camera that can at iso 1600 or higher well and glass that can do f4.0 or lower are needs. Fog, snow, and rain all help to make a dark scene brighter. Snow on the ground is your best friend when shooting at night without flashes. Also, it help to not shoot directly head on if you want to see more then just a ball of light.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:20 PM   #19
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Apologies for the misdirected reply above; I took the literal meaning of what Daniel wrote in his original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
still night shots
...and thought he was shooting trains stopped at the platform, instead of what he apparently actually wanted to inquire about:

Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
To stop action at night
Oh, silly semantics. (My emphasis.)
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWHonan View Post
Apologies for the misdirected reply above; I took the literal meaning of what Daniel wrote in his original post...and thought he was shooting trains stopped at the platform, instead of what he apparently actually wanted to inquire about:
Thats what I thought too
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