Saturday, June 24, 2006

Night Photography

My previous post was about fast shutter speed ,this one is about slow shutter speed . Shutter speed is often associated with exposure time i.e how long your camera takes to click a picture .

Fast shutter means less exposure and slow shutter means long exposure time . At night ,because of darkness if a picture is taken with fast shutter speed the resulting image will be dark hence the camera needs to be open for longer duration to take in more light . Longer the exposure the better.

One of the reason why we shifted to a DSLR was because we wanted to take nice pictures in the night . We were tired of blurry images that comes with a point and shoot camera ,not that you cannot take good night pictures with these cameras its just that we din't know how . The main reason why point and shoot cameras most of the time end up giving a blurry night image is because of the person operating it . To photograph in the night you should have a steady hand or else even a slight shake can have drastic effect, hence most people suggest using a tripod while taking pictures at night .

Kaula Lumpur at night
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I personally find it very inconvenient to carry a tripod during sight seeing . But this time I did take a small tripod which came free with my point and shoot camera, it was very handy .

Below are the things we tried during our recent trip to KL

Taking pictures of light trail

The light trails can be best seen in a moving traffic ,for this you will need a tripod . I decided to shoot the picture on a over bridge near the traffic signal . If you don't like carrying a tripod have a small one like mine . I kept my tripod on the railings and held it firmly . The camera should be in 'S' mode with increased shutter speed, the more the better but I choose 10 - 15 sec which will do the job . When the shutter speed is set to 10 sec it means that when you click the snap the camera will take 10 seconds to show the pic .

During this time the shutter will be open and hence more light can enter through lens and the resulting image will be sharp. Since it takes 10 sec for a camera to produce the image its impossible for anyone to hold the camera that steady in the hand . Hence a tripod is used or if you can find a steady surface you can choose to place the camera there .

Some people also suggest using an external cord to click the picture to prevent any shake but I have no intention of taking so much of pain . I took some of them by direct clicking and some by setting up a timer . To photograph light trail in a traffic signal the timing should be perfect . I ended up taking 10 to 15 shots before I got a good looking picture .

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Poor Naveen !! he waited patiently for me to complete my experiment . I am glad he put up with my experiments at 10 in the night with a empty stomach and whole day of sight seeing . Once you try it you realize its so easy to get these kind of pictures .

Getting sparkles in the night

The trick is same -- long exposure,slow shutter speed ,a tripod and bit a patience.From what I observed you can take sparkling pictures of street lights. Choose a nice spot from where you can see lots of bright lights.Place your camera on a tripod and take a snap with shutter speed set to 10 sec and then wait.

Petronas Tower
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Less Exposure
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More exposure(see the difference in light)
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This is more easier and I was able to take good pictures with just two trials.


7 comments:

Leone said...

thanks for this one!!

VERY HELPFUL :)

Chaithra and Naveen said...

Thanks Leona for dropping by .
I am trying to reinvent my photography interest which died after few months of excitement !!!

cosmic_wanderer said...

I cant agree more about night photography and the need for a DSLR.

I tried my hand at some night photography and my point and shoot, using more or less the same techniques which you described here.

And some weird results can be found here:
http://shoot-that-thing.blogspot.com/2011/10/bright-little-world.html

I tried with Light trails as well. But the results are something which cant be shared :)

One of the things which I want to try out is shoot "Star Trails" at night.

Thanks for the tips. They are very helpful :)

Cheers,
Shrijeet

Chaithra and Naveen said...

I researched a lot about taking that 'Stars trail' shot but it doesn't seem to be that easy. If you figure it out then let me know.

Moreover no stars can be seen on Singapore Sky :(

Gautam S Brahma said...

Well i too don't agree that for night photography we need a DSLR, coz we only need manual exposure mode and which is nowadays very much available in point and shoot cameras, i have Sony DSC H20 which has a Manual mode where i can set the aperture and the shutter speed manually, but recently i shifted to DSLR coz i was having problem with the grains which comes up when you take pictures in low light situations where you have to pump to higher ISO to set a fast shutter speed, but when you are having a DSLR you don't have to worry about that coz it can go to ISO 1600 without any problem.

And the pictures which you have captures are truly very good.

Regards
Gautam S Brahma

Chaithra and Naveen said...

Thanks ,coming from you its truly a compliment.

When i had point and a shoot I was under the impression that no matter what i try i wont get good pictures.

I now believe its not the camera ,its the person who is operating it !!! bc I get terrible images sometimes with my DSLR also.

bookjunkie said...

I am so impressed by the KL night shot....just gorgeous and makes me want a DSLR so bad.

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