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Photography Question 
Gerie Jones
 

How to Shoot at Night


 
  new york city at night
new york city at night
© Gerie Jones
Nikon N80/F80 SLR ...
 
 
I've been trying my hand at night photography. It's been hit or miss either they come out over or under exposed. Is there any formula I can use?

I'm shooting with a manual camera (Richo) using a 28 to 105 lens 2.8 using the bulb setting. Can anyone there help me Pleasssssse?


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11/3/2003 11:29:05 AM

 
Chris L. Hurtt  
 
 
Gerie,

Hello. I too have been frustrated by this in the past. I have a lot of slides that look really bad because I didn't meter off the right spot. If you have artificial light in the center of your frame and you set your exposure off that spot then things get crazy. I have to thank Bryan Peterson for explaining how to do this in his book Understanding Exposure. For the attached image I set my lens wide open at f/2.8 and took a reading off the area I indicated in the sky... please excuse the crop and bad graphics on where to meter. My Photoshop skills are terrible. My meter indicated I needed an 8 sec exposure at f/2.8. Since I wanted to capture the movement in the traffic I increased the exposure by three stops to one minute and stopped down the aperture three stops from f/2.8 to f/8. I am sure there are situations where this won't work, but it has served me well.


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11/4/2003 6:27:45 PM

 
Chris L. Hurtt  
 
 
Gerie,

Hello. I too have been frustrated by this in the past. I have a lot of slides that look really bad because I didn't meter off the right spot. If you have artificial light in the center of your frame and you set your exposure off that spot then things get crazy. I have to thank Bryan Peterson for explaining how to do this in his book Understanding Exposure. For the attached image I set my lens wide open at f/2.8 and took a reading off the area I indicated in the sky... please excuse the crop and bad graphics on where to meter. My Photoshop skills are terrible. My meter indicated I needed an 8 sec exposure at f/2.8. Since I wanted to capture the movement in the traffic I increased the exposure by three stops to one minute and stopped down the aperture three stops from f/2.8 to f/8. I am sure there are situations where this won't work, but it has served me well. Also, if you have a camera with matrix metering such as a Nikon F system then turn it off and use center metering. The matrix meter assumes you are going to use a fill flash in the dark. I know this image has been done about a million times, but every photographer has to do this one themselves. :)


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11/4/2003 6:31:14 PM

 
Chris L. Hurtt  
 
 
Here is the rest of the image.


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11/4/2003 6:34:26 PM

 
EMAD-UD-DIN BUTT   Hello !
Dear I have a solution that is better than hit and miss idea.
I have an analysis about night photography by seeing the professional photographers pictures and as u will also see it proved true by the answer of Chris H. above....... the technique is

exposure time = aperture of lens

for example I give u the Chris H. answer above he got it right on

f8 and 8 seconds.
you if urself see the pictures in magazines of other prof photographers will agree to my analysis as I have myself taken pictures with same technique successfully and without any fear....
So try it and let us all know about ur experience but this time without any frustration :)


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11/21/2003 8:36:53 PM

 
John Estock   Hi Gerie,
Technically, you're not doing nite photography--it is dusk photography, and most who try this will meter off a portion of the sky that is approximately mid brightness level; this can be hit or miss, but then again, most photogs bracket (you only see their good stuff, so they look like geniuses). By the way, the photo doesn't look that bad to me, unless you were striving for more detail in the foreground, in which case you would have had to use a graduated neutral density filter for the sky, and probably triple the exposure time. Of course, this would overexpose certain details like headlites, but this is the price we pay for shooting at night. If you switch to an auto exposure mode camera, you will quickly find that a 1 to 3 times overexposure setting is necessary to compensate for reciprocity failure. By the way, I've discovered that some of my favorite photos have been either under or over exposed; if you like something, who cares if you're breaking the rules.


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11/21/2003 11:28:59 PM

 
Buddy Purugganan   With the presence of low light while taking evening or night photography--the use of quality high ISO films such as ISO 800 up to 2300 is recommended. Brands ranging from Fuji Photo Press have ISO 800, Konica also has Centuria 800 as the Kodak Max 800. But since you own a manual focus camera it is IMPERATIVE to use your tripod in case you only intend to use low aperture/shutter speed combinations and low ISO films! Modern day AF cameras have "night" mode in their 'vari-programs' like Nikon or Canon entry level cameras ( which makes such low light handling much better than most manual focus SLR cams.) Just make sure you shoot with a fully loaded SLR camera flash whenever shooting the evening photos and bring high ISO films so you would feel 'prepared' for such occasions.


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11/22/2003 10:30:40 PM

 
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