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My first attempt at night photography.
Posted By: Tonytee, 12-28-2015, 11:57 PM

Well, Christmas was only a few days past, and I still have the spirit. This is a shot of my neighbor's house across the street from us. I am not unhappy with this capture, considering the only available light source came from the subject. Thanks for looking.

Tony

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PENTAX K100D Super  Photo 


Last edited by Tonytee; 12-29-2015 at 06:17 PM. Reason: word omission.
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12-30-2015, 06:30 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
The sensitivity range for ISO is: 200 to 3200. The lens is a 1:3~5.6. So it seems I will be in good shape in the future. You said you take night landscape shots. I imagine you must wait until the moonlight is just ideal. Is that correct?
Thanks again for your input.

Tony
I go out even without moonlight. I have enough ambient light pollution in my area that I can get a lot of nice silhouette shots, and then there's the astroscapes. Moonlight is nice, but just got to mix it up a bit with some astro. I can also use my lanterns to illuminate a large area at night as well for a light painted effect, but mitigating the shadows casting into the frame from that is a real pain. If you have an m42 adapter, the super takumar 50mm f/1.4 7-element makes a nice lens for night landscape... even if it is a bit narrow at an equiv. FL of around 75mm. In my original response, I didn't notice that you had used the 18-55 AL lens. That's definitely no slouch even at night. M28 f/2.8 is also a nice night landscape lens. I'd really love to see some examples of further experimentation if you've taken any new ones.

12-30-2015, 06:40 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
The sensitivity range for ISO is: 200 to 3200. The lens is a 1:3~5.6. So it seems I will be in good shape in the future. You said you take night landscape shots. I imagine you must wait until the moonlight is just ideal. Is that correct?
Thanks again for your input.

Tony
Evening Tony,

To do night landscapes, just about any amount of moonlight is good - other than the new moon when there is none. The K100 starts to show a lot of noise over ISO 800, if I remember right (I have one, but my son has it up at his house right now). I would just set it at ISO200, set the aperture at f8, set a 2 second delay on the shutter release, mount it on your tripod, turn the focus to infinity (and put it into manual focus) and then try shooting across the street at 5 seconds. Take a look at the image on the back screen. If its too dark, try again at 10 seconds, still a might dark go to 15 seconds. Just try a bunch of exposures. That is the way you are going to learn the setup.

The key here is that ISO 200 is going to get you the best image with the lowest noise. f8 is going to get you the sharpest image from your kit lens with a very good depth of field. The tripod and the 2 second delay, will hold the body steady and let the shake dampen out before taking the image. The only other real item is the exposure, and that you can take an initial guess and then either bump it up or take take the time down by some amount. That is essentially what night shooting comes down to.

Here are some examples of night shots using the K100D

Last edited by interested_observer; 12-30-2015 at 06:50 PM.
12-30-2015, 10:08 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
The sensitivity range for ISO is: 200 to 3200. The lens is a 1:3~5.6. So it seems I will be in good shape in the future. You said you take night landscape shots. I imagine you must wait until the moonlight is just ideal. Is that correct?
Thanks again for your input.

Tony
Moonlight? You don't need no steenkin' moonlight!

In truth, a bright full moon can actually cause more issues than not since it puts a comparitivey bright light source up there in the sky you then have to compensate for (usually by having it stay safely off-frame, unless you WANT to catch it, in which case you have to shoot so fast that everything else descends into murk).

I've found some of my best shots actually come when the sky is overcast, or its foggy out which allows the ambient ground lighting to take front and center. It also 'smooths out' things for lack of a better term, much as a grey day will with the Sun.

Here are some of my better (at least to me) shots taken when there was no moon or when it was obscured by cloudcover.







This isn't saying to exclude the moon if its there, but the moon does cause a few issues - it kills stars, it dominates a scene (in most cases, the fuller the moon, the more likely it will become the brightest light source in a scene), it forces shadows that may not be wanted (of course shadows aren't always bad), and it will invariably become blown out, forcing you to resort to some manner of post processing (either merging images, or HDR, or both) if you want it to actually look like what you see with the naked eye.

In short, don't depend on the moon for 'good' or 'bad' light - you can get shots at any time, the only trickery is knowing how to adapt for the differences.

---------- Post added 12-31-15 at 12:13 AM ----------

As an aside, don't be afraid to play with the moon as well. If you plan on taking a lot of night shots, I highly recommend either the O-GPS unit (and a compatible camera) or a camera with the astrotracer built in.

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