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Old 12-24-2010, 01:52 AM   #1
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Night Photography

How in the hell do you guys do it?

I suck at night photography, yet it's one of my favorite kinds. Especially with cars. I see guys take pictures of their cars under street lights, and the car is perfectly bright and visible, and everything around is the perfect shade of night time. It just works..yet, somehow, I cannot master the art of this. Even with Photoshop.

I know that part of my problem may be that I'm not running with a dSLR, instead a Nikon P100 "point-and-shoot" camera. But if anyone has any tips or tricks, please fill me in!

Some of my night photography. Tell me what to do!
Don't mind the angles. These are throwaway pictures, just posting because they're attempted night shots.

(With my Nikon P100: These were all run through Photoshop)










(With my old Fujifilm Finepix)






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Old 12-24-2010, 02:29 AM   #2
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Good shots you have here ... there is some trickery when it comes to night time photography.

When it comes to Nighttime photography, you need to get into your camera's Manual settings. Get off the Automatic, because the camera will try to brighten the shot as much as it is capable of. So, you need to take control of your camera.

Here I actually used lights to shoot it, but anyone can still get some very pretty shots if they take control of the camera's manual settings.



More in a minute. ...

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:31 AM   #3
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Here are some shots I took at a local car gathering we have here in Houston. No lights just the natural lighting of the area.





-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:34 AM   #4
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So, here's the technique:

What you need to find control are your SHUTTER SETTINGS, APERTURE SETTINGS and ISO SETTINGS.

In the SLR cameras, the lenses make a huge difference in the night time shooting.

... side bar ... on the lenses there is a number that look like 1:4 or 1:1.8 ... which means how much light can come in the camera. For instance our eyes pretty much see at 1:1 ... so we can see things in low light real well, but our cameras are not as good at it. If this is confusing, I was just showing you an example of the numbers.

Back to technique: ...

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:42 AM   #5
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For your Nikon P100:

You "Fixed" Lens (Meaning you can't change lenses) has an Aperture rating of 1:2.8 - 1:5
Your ISO Sensitivity range is from 160 - 400 with a Hi-ISO Setting of 1600.

Not bad.

You want to keep your ISO pretty high ... not to far ... I believe your sensor can handle 400 really well without getting to much Grain (dots you see in the dark areas of your shots).

You want to slow your shutter down to below 1/60th ... but understand the slower your shutter the more likely your shots become blurry ... So, I would recommend you find a good cheap tripod or a sturdy spot to put your camera on ... The floor, a brick ...

Shutter speed is like how fast you blink your eyes.

And since your P100 has a 1:2.8 Aperture at most, you want to keep your photos from being zoomed in. When you zoom in you move your Aperture to 1:5 ... you want the smaller number. 1:2.8 is achieved by staying wide.

Aperture is like your pupil, how much light is being let in ... kinda like shades on windows. You open it up as the sun goes down but shut them a little when the sun is high up.

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:44 AM   #6
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Let me know if you have any other questions ... I am all about helping out with some photography knowledge.

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:48 AM   #7
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BTW, that shot you did with your old Fuji looks real nice with the light from the building lighting your ride.

If you used the Automatic settings, the camera was setting it's sights on the light that dominated the shot and kept the ISO settings low and the Aperture setting where the "Fixed" lens of that camera could handle.

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:25 AM   #8
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wow great info! I have had the same trouble getting night pics.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:15 AM   #9
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For your shot FLGSVT ... you can also make your camera stationary and take to photos.

Have your camera take a photo to get the Background (like you did) then take another shot that gets your Foreground (your car) and it will blow out the Background. (making it all white).

And then if you are proficient in Photoshop (or if you are not we can help) ... then you merge the photos together and it will make a nice looking photo with a fully colored background and a fully colored Foreground.

-Ray-
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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Tripod, slow shutter speed, low ISO, camera auto timer to prevent vibration from your finger pressing the shutter. Don't use the on camera pop up flash. It'll do more harm than good. High aperture (low f#) to let more light in.

I don't know it that camera let's you shoot in RAW, but if it does and you use something like Adobe Lightroom you can usually recover quite a bit.
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