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Re: Low Light Photography

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avatar Low Light Photography
April 11, 2009 10:47PM
I am seeking examples of very low light photographs that contain the shutter speed/F-stop/lens size information with the photo. Master Eeek if you could please post that Foggy Merced photo, I would appreciate it, as the other one is lost in a maze of threads.

For years I have been attempting moon rise valley shots, and what I end up with is a) the flashlight effect with semi-exposed features or b) the every crater on the cheeze ball in a pitch black sky. I cannot seem to find the happy medium (The same is true for pre-dawn shots) Any advice would be appreciated.

B



Post Edited (04-11-09 22:54)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 11, 2009 11:10PM
This low? (Kings Canyon, Cedar Grove, April 2003)



avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 11, 2009 11:36PM
Vince: This low? (Kings Canyon, Cedar Grove, April 2003)

Timed shutter release is one aspect of low light shots, but I am looking more in the area of having to actually pick a shutter speed/f-stop combo for a specific effect of capturing the landscape at the low light (timed shots included)

okay I will share one of my favorite night-timed release shots, taken from a mixed batch of shots from myself and a buddy.

Sant'Agata, Campagna, Italy





Post Edited (04-11-09 23:37)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 11, 2009 11:57PM
Here's an extremely lucky shot.

As far as F-stop and all that, experiment is my best advice (so-called professionals call it "bracket exposures"winking smiley

Vince

I call this photo "Four Half Domes"

More than half of the moon
More than half of El Capitan
More than half of Half Dome (Half Dome is about 80 percent intact)
And...well, more than half of that guy's dome

Full picture here.





avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:01AM
My Pentax ME Super went brain dead many years ago but I still have the lenses, so if you have a Pentax K-mount body you want to sell me, great, I sure could use it, digital SLRs are really expensive and they can't do time exposures without a lot of noise. Just email me, I'll pay your entrance fee for it.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:08AM
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:17AM
eeeek: http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/yosemite/merced-fog1.jpg.html

There it IS -- The shot that started all of this!!! (so off I go to figure out how you did it)



B



Post Edited (04-12-09 00:23)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:24AM
eeeek: eeeek: http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/yosemite/merced-fog1.jpg.html

Uh, oh -- it was taken back in the dark ages with a pin-hole camera...any recollections on the size of the hole...or...box...or anything (was it timed??)

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:09AM
Nice, eeek
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:20AM
Looks like a postcard!

Oh, um, maybe it is?
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:29AM
Vince: Looks like a postcard! Oh, um, maybe it is?

its(it's) the kind of shot that inspires...I think that this might be one of my all-time favorite pictures. Its the shot that I have been chasing around forever(I know that gathering up a bunch of statistics is not going to transform my lack of skills, but it cant hurt)

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:56AM
To get detail in the moon you need a sky that's brighter than night time black. Here's an image from a Nikon D700 at 8:45 p.m. on Sep. 27, 2008 from Mt. Watkins; sunset that night was about 7:00. The area at that time was completely black to my eyes, but the D700 has an extremely sensitive sensor and can pick up light I couldn't see with my eyes. I could see no detail at all on Half Dome or the Glacier Point wall when I shot this. The weird blur on some stars is from having the lens aperture wide open.

shutter speed was 30 seconds, aperture f1.4, ISO 3200, 50mm lens.



Very important to note that cameras can only capture a MUCH narrower variation of light compared to the human eye (eye sees 11 steps ("stops"winking smiley, camera sees around 5, where each 'step' is half or twice as much as the adjacent steps).

avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 01:03AM
vdrummer wrote:

> To get detail in the moon

The moon is lit by the sun. Just treat it like you do the day.

avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 01:10AM
This might be what you have in mind, Bee - it's about an hour before sunrise here, and the pre-dawn sky was just starting to brighten up the terrain.

It's a Nikon D70 with 70-300mm lens, shutter 1/50, aperture f5.6. (Effective lens length is 450mm due to the smaller D70 sensor). The moon will start to blur at shutter speeds slower than around 1/30.



avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 01:18AM
Vdrummer: This might be what you have in mind, Bee

EGGG-ZACTLY!!!! bing-bing-bing -- you win the prize!! All over my room are pin ups of various shots of the moon that I wish I had taken. This would be a candidate. you captured what I was trying to describe: the detail of the moon PLUS some of the landscape...

Tell me, did YOU choose these settings randomly, or did your light meter suggest them...you have no idea how long I have been pursuing this sort of pic

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 01:02PM
>Tell me, did YOU choose these settings randomly, or did your light meter suggest them...you have no idea how long I have been pursuing this sort of pic

Settings weren't chosen randomly, I usually shoot in 'aperture priority' mode - choosing my preferred aperture setting (wide open in both of my pics here, which gave me the fastest shutter speed for a given amount of light - so that way there's the least chance of blur), and letting the camera adjust the shutter speed.

Getting detail in the moon & landscape together is usually best around dawn & sunset, when the brightness of the moon closely matches the sky brightness. You can use a spot meter to tell exactly how far apart they are - i.e. the meter says the moon is 1/500 at f4.5 and the sky is 1/60 at f4.5, they're two stops apart (1/500 --> 1/125 --> 1/60), that's within the camera's four or five stop exposure range.

I think it's super important to keep in mind that the camera doesn't see like the eye sees.

There are resources around that can tell you when the moon will rise and at what azimuth, so if you have a certain scene in mind, you can figure out when the moon will be there.

Cheers and have fun!

Ron
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 01:11AM
I find "star trek" not at all "weird blur"

Great photos, thanks folks
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 07:00AM
At Sunrise at sunrise



Kodak Funsaver 35mm Single Use Camera w/ Flash
ISO 400 film
Speed: I was pretty slow
Shutter: quite a bit due to the cold



Post Edited (04-12-09 07:02)



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 11:28AM
Just use your camera's spot metering, and meter on the moon. If you shoot the moon with normal metering against a dark sky, the camera will expose for the sky and the moon will be just a bright blob.

Or, use your camera's EV plus and minus settings to lighten and darken your shots. If you want a pre dawn shot to appear as dark, pre-dawn, you have to tell the camera that, otherwise it has no way of knowing and will try to make it look like a bright sunny day. Set a minus 1 or more EV and it will be a darker shot.

http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/image/88151412
The EXIF data is shown below the photos, but no one setting is 'right' because at that time of day, light changes, so the review feature of digital cameras (or an electronic viewfinder) become your friend.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 11:33AM
Sierrafan wrote:

> Just use your camera's spot metering, and meter on the moon.

You don't even need to meter. The sunny f/16 rule applies to the moon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:45PM
eeeek: You don't even need to meter. The sunny f/16 rule applies to the moon.

Thank you for this! Like so many other gems of information that I have picked up from this forum, I had not heard of this f/16 rule. In some instances, rules can be incredibly helpful.

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 12:49PM
Bee wrote:

> eeeek: You don't even need to meter. The sunny f/16 rule
> applies to the moon.
>
> Thank you for this! Like so many other gems of information that
> I have picked up from this forum, I had not heard of this f/16
> rule. In some instances, rules can be incredibly helpful.

Must read:

The Camera
The Negative
The Print

You've probably heard of the author.

avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 02:15PM
eeeek: Must read

Just ordered them up as a 3-fer!

>You've probably heard of the author<

yesss....I believe that he is named after a Wilderness near some park or another....winking smiley

B
Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 08:16PM
eeek wrote:
> You don't even need to meter. The sunny f/16 rule applies to
> the moon.
>

In theory that's right, but I've found it actually varies a lot, probably because of atmospheric differences. And if it's low on the horizon, it needs more exposure. With digital I like to expose for the highlights, so a quick spot meter works better for me overall.

But a bright moon overhead in clear skies usually will work Ok with the sunny 16 rule applied.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 08:56PM
It was used for this shot:



avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 10:11PM
Sunny f/16 might have been useful when it was thought up but I don't know why anybody would use it with modern equipment. Apertures that small with most modern lenses will destroy image quality.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 10:20PM


I just took that last week outside of flagstaff.

ISO 100
f/9
1/80s shutter

I took some other longer exposure nighttime shots but I haven't converted them from RAW yet.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2009 11:46PM by dqniel.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 11:31PM
Dqnial, the moon detail is awesome, but....somehow half of it is cut off on my view to the right side of the screen...

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 11:46PM
Should be fixed now.
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 11:50PM
La Bella luna!!! Chiara!

B
avatar Re: Low Light Photography
April 12, 2009 10:39PM
It was really, really windy in Guadalupe when I was trying to take these, so I didn't spend much time doing it. I was tired and cold, and didn't get as many as I wanted. Ideally I would have gotten some where Guadalupe Peak or one of the gnarly trees were silhouetted by the stars. Also, I should have brought a remote shutter so I could successfully use the bulb mode on my camera. 30s wasn't long enough to let enough light in.



ISO 500
f/4.0
30s shutter



same settings as above



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2009 11:02PM by dqniel.
Re: Low Light Photography
April 14, 2009 06:07PM
Ah. Moonrise is my favorite of Mr. Adams' work. I'll admit, I am also a fan of his work.

Lots of excellent photos posted here.

Bee: I think you are asking the wrong question. The question I think you want answered is, "How do I photograph the moon at night/dusk without losing the shadow detail on the ground?"

There is a way to do this with a few objects: a tripod, cable release, a neutral density filter, and a parrot. Well, maybe not a parrot.

To make a long story short, you can hold an ND filter in front of the lens to shade the camera from the bright portion of the image (generally the sky). SLRs are at a disadvantage here. Ideally you want a live LCD display. I spoke with a photographer at Grand Tetons who was doing this with a Canon G10 on a tripod. This made it easier for him to line up the filter with the horizon.
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