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Photography Question 
Kelly K. Kovar

Proper Light Streaking, help!

Ok, I have a NIkon D40. I am a firefighter and want to get the image of a fire engine with it's lights on with the emergency lights to be streaked. I tried this several times. I can get the streaking effect I am looking for, but the fire engine is almost invisable. All you can see are the streaks of light and the body of the engine looks like it is moving 100 miles an hour. My question is how do you acheive the streaking light effect with the ability to still make out the fire engine in the picture. THat is to have a beautiful picture of the fire engine at night with streaking lights. I tried this on many settings. The Bulb setting gave me the light streaks, yet was unable to get the engine clear. I tried it stationairy, moving fast, and moving slow. On a tripod of course. Help, how do I get what I am looking for?

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2/10/2008 7:38:54 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005

Read up on (Rear Curtain Sync)


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2/10/2008 9:12:49 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Have you try taken the camera off your tripod and use the "panning" technique? Maybe this helps:

Also an external flash would help too.

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2/10/2008 9:59:23 PM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  Hi Kelly, what Pete was alluding to is using your flash with a slower shutter speed on the rear curtain sync flash setting. You can find this by pressing the little flash button and rotating your command dial. In its normal mode the flash goes off as soon as the shutter curtain starts to travel across the frame. If you are shooting a moving fire truck with its lights on, what you will see is a sharp image of the truck with the lights on but the motion blur and light trails will look like they are extending ahead of the truck. This is because the flash froze the sharper image at the beginning of the shutter's travel. In rear curtain sync mode, the flash goes off at the very end of the shutter's travel, so what you capture is the blur and light trails first and then a crisper image of the truck at the end of the exposure putting the blur and light trails behind the truck. You will have to experiment with what shutter speed to use as it will depend on how long you want the light trails to be and how fast the truck is moving. Start with 1/30s and play around.


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2/11/2008 4:23:23 AM

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