Thursday, 2 June 2011

Better night photos

I was DYING to go and try out my new tripod at night. It feels so sturdy as compared to my cheap old one! I wanted to try different settings while snapping, to see how they alter the result. So I'll give the EXIF data beneath each photo to explain a little better.
My favourite photo of the night.
It was raining a little, so you will see some flare from the occasional rainspot. Sorry. Using the lesson I learned last time, I used manual focus. It's not like the subjects were moving, so stuffing around trying to use the autofocus was not going to be worthwhile.

I should note, too: I was a little afraid for my safety and security. It was about 7:30pm. It's a reasonably isolated part of town, and I was standing around at night with thousands of dollars worth of camera gear. So, I used the eyes in the back of my head, and didn't stray more than a few metres from my unlocked car (so I could leap in there if necessary). Paranoid?? Maybe. I don't know.

Anyway, to the photos!

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 1/2s
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 800
Comments: Mostly too dark. I think my camera got confused by the very light cement silos, and the dark surroundings.

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 1/2s
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 800
Comments: Blurry. The very small aperture means that the depth of field is too short, which is clearly not ideal for landscapes (only a tiny amount will be in focus).

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 1s
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 800
Comments: Same position, lighter and slightly less blurry. Should have increased the aperture, instead of decreasing the shutter speed.

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 2.5s
Aperture: f/2.5
ISO: 800
Comments: Slightly lighter, but more in focus. Obviously reducing the aperture is having some effect!

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 2.5s
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 800
Comments: This photo would have been pretty good, except for the weird purple alien things from the rain on my lens. Whoops! Still having trouble with the contrasting exposure from the well-lit cement silo, though.

35mm focal length equivalent: 81mm
Shutter speed: 10s
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 800
Comments: Having the aperture wide open has made a massive difference to focus. I love the star-shaped lights. Shame my whole photo is wonky though - maybe I need a spirit level to sit atop my camera.

35mm focal length equivalent: 44mm
Shutter speed: 10s
Aperture: f/13
ISO: 800
Comments: I actually really like this one. The converging lines of the old bridge (that I'm standing on) and the motorway bridge are geometrically pleasant, and the weird light pollution looks interesting. I haven't exactly followed the 'rule of thirds' though. Oh well.

35mm focal length equivalent: 30mm
Shutter speed: 3.2s
Aperture: f/16
ISO: 1600
Comments: Too dark. Though that is to do with my composition as much as the camera settings.

35mm focal length equivalent: 30mm
Shutter speed: 8s
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 1600
Comments: Better. The rainspots are a bit annoying though. You can't see them through the viewfinder or on the LCD, so it comes a surprise when they show up on the computer!

35mm focal length equivalent: 30mm
Shutter speed: 20s
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 1600
Comments: This one is not bad! The road to the right and the mangrove bushes add some interest to the foreground.

35mm focal length equivalent: 30mm
Shutter speed: 10s
Aperture: f/16
ISO: 1600
Comments: Not a bad photo in terms of focus and exposure, but it's a boring composition.

I enjoyed getting back out there for some night photos. I think the lessons I took from it were:
  • Night exposures for landscapes need small apertures. Something around f/16, and let the camera choose the ISO and the shutter speed.
  • It's a good idea to take the same photo at a couple of different exposures, because what shows up on the LCD may not be how it looks on the computer.
  • Getting rain on the lens is annoying!
  • Technically good photos with crappy composition will still look crappy.

3 comments:

  1. You know, I reckon you could make your fortune off the purple alien thingy! Sell it online as proof of aliens or ghosts. Someone would be bound to buy it!! ;)

    I'm always scared of shooting at 1600 ISO. I don't trust my composition enough to not want to crop things, and the more you crop with high ISO, the worse the end result...

    ReplyDelete
  2. The highest ISO that my camera will do is 1600 - some crazy ones go up to 12,800 or something! Maybe this will just force me to get the composition right the first time?

    ReplyDelete

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