Old Today, 02:14 PM   #1
Joseph Cermak
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Default Tips for headlight anticipation shots?

Any tips for those style of night photo where you just see the headlight lighting up something in the distance, so called "anticipation" shots. I finally got to try some the other day but got a PAQ, which doesn't offer much input on what to do differently. Thanks.

Included is an example of the kind of photo I'm talking about
Image © Mike Danneman
PhotoID: 470915
Photograph © Mike Danneman
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Old Today, 02:41 PM   #2
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I've did the best with these shots when several criteria below come together for a spot.

No ambient or artificial light to boost the lighting in the scene.
Near a curve, to give the headlight more time to 'brighten' the scene.
Bad weather (fog, snow, etc.) to better develop the glow in the atmosphere.
Railroad related elements that will be silhouetted by the headlight.

In your example you've got an artificially lit location which will 'fight' the locomotive headlight for exposure level in the shot. It also threw the color balance off, giving you a hot white headlight. The bridge is a great idea, but the surrounding location doesn't support this shot well enough.

Loyd L.
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Last edited by bigbassloyd; Today at 02:45 PM.
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Old Today, 04:47 PM   #3
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Nice work Loyd! I've never been able to pull off one of the shots. How far in advance do you fire the the shutter? As soon as you see the glow of the headlight or a little before/after?
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Old Today, 06:09 PM   #4
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Yes, Lloyd, classic shots. Thanks.

I have tried a few, rejected.

I have attached a going away version , shot at 1/30th,
When I see the bridge illuminated. Several nights I drove out to Dubuque on the Miss. R. You can sit on the levee and listen as they switch the yard and then work thier way up to the bridge. I would have my Border collie with me and play fetch forever and sometimes talk with kids and their cars hanging out.

Never tried this one as I didn't want to ruin some good memories with a rejection.

Bob Jordan
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