Low Light Photography Equipment Camera + lens Tripod Shutter Release cable (SLR) Remote control (Digital) For those without shutter release cable or remote control – an on-camera self timer
Camera Exposure Modes Auto / Program – Not the best for low light Shutter Priority – Manually set shutter speed to blur or freeze movement Aperture priority – Good for low light photography, as allows long exposure by setting small aperture. Also used for flash photography. Manual – Full creative control! :)
Compact Camera Modes Portrait – large aperture, small DOF Landscape / Mountains – small aperture, large DOF, focused around infinity Sports – Short shutter speeds to freeze movement, probably large aperture Night Landscape – Long shutter speed, probably small aperture for large DOF, focused around infinity Night Portrait – Long shutter speed, fill-in (slow sync) flash to balance foreground exposure with background
ISO for Low Light Photography Similar to reciprocity, ISO numbers either halve or double the sensitivity to light i.e. 1/30s shutter speed @ 100 ISO = 1/60s shutter speed @ 200 ISO (ISO = 25, 50, 64 (half stop), 100, 160(half stop), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200) Film –Higher ISO fast films are more sensitive to light –fast films have larger grain sizes when developed, so cannot be enlarged as big.
ISO for Low Light Photography Digital Cameras –Long exposures = high dark current noise due to heat in the sensor –Increasing the ISO (gain) setting (allowing a shorter exposure) amplifies any background electrical noise Methods of digital noise reduction: In Camera Algorithms –Some SLRs have built in noise reduction algorithms Dark frame subtraction –Take another shot of same length exposure with lens cap + subtract in Photoshop Stacking –Averaging multiple images in Photoshop can increase sensitivity and reduce noise but your camera must not move between frames.
What, no tripod? What shutter speeds can you hand-hold a camera at without getting a blurred image due to camera shake? Rule of Thumb – use a maximum shutter speed of one over the focal length of the lens. i.e. for a 200mm lens = 1/250s 50mm lens = 1/60s (Possible shutter speeds = 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1…)
What, no tripod? How to hold an SLR camera to minimise shake Brace your arms against your body for extra support Crouch and use legs and left arm to support camera Try to use fixed objects around you to brace your camera (e.g. hold camera against a lamppost, or on a railing)
Moving Object Shutter Speeds - NO Blur Which shutter speed to use for subjects depends on 3 factors: –How big the object appear in the frame –Which direction it is moving –How fast it is moving Shutter Speed (secs) SubjectMoving across path Head On Fills whole frameFills half frame Person Walking1/125 sec1/60 sec Person Jogging1/250 sec1/125 sec1/60 sec Person Sprinting1/500 sec1/250 sec1/125 sec Cyclist1/500 sec1/250 sec1/125 sec Horse Trotting1/250 sec1/125 sec1/60 sec Horse Galloping1/1000 sec1/500 sec1/250 sec Diver (from a spring board)1/1000 sec1/500 sec1/250 sec Tennis Serve1/1000 sec1/500 sec1/250 sec Car at 30mph (50kph)1/500 sec1/250 sec1/125 sec Car at 70mph (110kph)1/1000 sec1/500 sec1/250 sec Formula 1 car1/2000 sec1/1000 sec1/500 sec Train1/2000 sec1/1000 sec1/500 sec
Moving Object Shutter Speeds – For Blur Blur can be used to emphasise movement Amount of blur depends on speed of movement of subject and shutter speed Shutter Speed (secs) SubjectModerate BlurExtreme Blur Person Walking1/30 sec¼ sec Person Running1/60 sec1/15 sec Horse Trotting1/30 sec1/8 sec Horse Galloping1/125 sec1/30 sec Car at 30mph (50kph)1/125 sec1/30 sec Car at 70mph (110kph)1/250 sec1/60 sec Water1-2 secs3 secs+
Flash Photography Flash creates a very bright light for a very short time Generally around 1/1000 second duration, capable of freezing most motion Because the light is such a short duration, we cannot use camera shutter speed to control exposure – we can only use the aperture. TTL flashes can also fire pre-flashes to enable automatic light metering through the lens
Flash Photography Slow Sync flash can be used to freeze an instant of motion, but also get a sense of colour and movement Slow sync = flash + long shutter speed
Flash Photography Rear curtain (2 nd curtain) flash makes a moving objects light trails appear behind them, rather than in front as with front (1 st ) curtain flash / slow sync.
When to take Photos Dont wait until its totally dark or your background will be totally black and the picture will look dead. Take photos at twilight, just after dusk, when there is still colour in the sky - It is easier to get a better balanced exposure
Night Exposure Guide This is only a guide – bracket shots at least +/- 1 stop to be sure Suggested Exposure at f/16 aperture Film Speed100200400800 Subject Cityscape just after sunset4 secs2 secs1 sec½ sec Cityscape at night20 secs10 secs5 secs3 secs Docks and bridges with reflection30 secs15 secs8 secs4 secs Traffic trails on busy road30 secs15 secs8 secs4 secs Floodlit Building4 secs2 secs1 sec½ sec Floodlit castles, churches at dusk15 secs8 secs4 secs2 secs Floodlit castles, churches at night30 secs15 secs8 secs4 secs Floodlit statues and fountains8 secs4 secs2 secs1 sec Neon Sign2 secs1 secs½ sec¼ sec Illuminated shop window2 secs1 secs½ sec¼ sec Outdoor Illuminations20 secs10 secs5 secs3 secs Fairground Rides15 secs8 secs4 sec2 secs Bonfire Flames2 secs1 secs½ sec¼ sec Aerial Firework Display2-60 secs2-30 secs2-15 secs2-8 secs Landscape lit by moonlight30 mins15 mins8 mins2 mins Landscape at twilight1 min30 sec15 secs8 secs Domestic Interior (tungsten)8 secs4 secs2 secs1 sec
Bracketing If you want to make sure you get a perfectly exposed shot, take multiple photos and vary the exposure Take an image at the metered exposure, followed by exposures over and under the metered exposure. Underexposure is most likely with low light photography, as E.g. bracket in +/- 1/3 stop (EV) or +/- ½ stop if you are reasonably sure of a correct exposure Bracket +/- 1 stop if you are guessing exposure! Film: Different films have different exposure latitudes (ranges) where a good exposure can be recorded: Black and White : around 6 stops (+/-3),
Traffic Trails Long exposure, large depth of field
Light Explosion Light Explosion / Motion blur With an SLR – zoom the lens during a long exposure
Out of Focus Bright, colourful pinpoint light sources work best (try illuminations?)
Concentrate on aerial rocket displays for best result Best view is further back, behind the crowds. Elevated position good if you can find one. Try to fill the frame as much as possible
Fireworks Set small aperture, e.g. f/16 Use a wide angle (28-35mm) to capture the whole of the display Use a telephoto (50mm+) to fill the frame with firework explosions Using the Bulb setting, open the shutter for 2-60 seconds - hopefully to capture multiple fireworks Can open the shutter for longer if you block the light with your hand or a black card between fireworks – longer gives a much more impressive picture
Night Photography Tips Get there early, for sunset so you have time to set up Use a tripod at all times so you dont have to worry about camera shake Bracket exposures to record at least one good image Experiment – Digital is good for this! Dont limit yourself to urban/street photography – landscapes and coastal shots can be good too
Coach leaves around 1pm (13:00) from the University Underpass – meet at 12:50 Coach will depart Blackpool around 9pm (21:00) We will tell you a meeting point when we arrive We will also provide you with a map. Dont be late!
Things to take Warm clothing – essential in November! Waterproofs – Showers have been forecast Money (for food / shopping / Pleasure Beach) Camera Tripod (if you have one) Shutter Release / Remote Control Film (slow and fast) / Memory cards (Downloading images to a laptop maybe a possibility if your card fills up while we are there) Small Torch
Things to look out for in Blackpool Tower Piers People
Things to look out for in Blackpool Sculptures – down the sea front promenade
Things to look out for in Blackpool Pleasure Beach – illuminated at night
Things to look out for in Blackpool Illuminations – from around 6pm
Things to look out for in Blackpool Fireworks at the Pleasure Beach on Saturday Starting around 7:30-8pm
Positioning for Fireworks Sunset will be around 16:35 on the 5 th November Tide Predictions for 5th –High Water around noon, and midnight –Low Water around 6pm –Should be able to walk out on the sands if you want more distance between yourself and the fireworks. –But dont expect a reflection like this photo unless you have a boat ;)
For those not going to Blackpool… Fireworks at Lancaster Castle, Saturday 5 th Nov Starts around 8pm Good view of rockets from near the Millennium Bridge
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