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12-07-2013, 12:51 PM   #1
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Night boat parade help

I want to capture snapshots of our Christmas Boat Parade. Auto? What do I do for night shooting with colorful Christmas lights?

12-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by scarng Quote
What do I do for night shooting with colorful Christmas lights?
Sounds like a great time! But that is a very difficult thing to deal with. What lenses do you have? Do you want to take photos mostly of the people or of the ornaments, boat? Do you have a flash?
12-07-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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stock 1:2.8 40mm

chinon 1:4.0-5.6 70-210mm
exakta 1:3.5-4.8 35-70mm
unknown brand MC Mirror Lens 1:8.0 500mm 72 No. 9307725

Flash Chino Auto S-360 Flash
12-07-2013, 07:33 PM   #4
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If it is a night boat parade, your best bet will be to go done to the marina in the evening and try using manual exposure until you get the look you want. Auto exposure and auto focus just aren't going to work for boat lights in the dark.

12-07-2013, 10:04 PM   #5
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The 40mm f/2.8 ... if in the dark, you'll need all the aperture you can get, because the boats will be moving, albeit slowly. One thought -- if the boats are forming up their parade line at twilight with the lights on, you'll have enough light/shutter speed to get some beautiful pictures. After night falls, not so much. In the dark, I'd try to get close ups -- like the bow of a sailboat, with the lights running up the jibstay.

In the dark, I'd probably put it on P Program and let the K-01 take the best guess. Otherwise, on M manual with the 40mm lens, I'd put the shutter speed at 1/100, the aperture at f/2.8, maybe f/4, and leave Auto-ISO from 100-3200. And -- as the above post suggested -- why not go down to the harbor on some night before the parade ... and try out some settings, and see what you get? I'll bet that the K-01 v.1.04 firmware will let you autofocus on the lights ... but try autofocus also. In real darkness, just manual focus to infinity and blast away!

And post some pictures here...
12-08-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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Depending on how dark it will be, you should either use Av moode with auto-ISO up to 3200. Turn on shadow correction. If its really dark, use the flash (maybe bounce it, or use it on a low setting, so it works as fill flash) and stop down the aperture a little while keeping ISO low.

But yes, taking some test shots is great advice. It doesn't even have to be at that setting, just in a room with similar light. We usually get the first dozen photos wrong and then start getting the hang of it, so its great if you get that out of the way before the actual event
12-08-2013, 08:17 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by scarng Quote
I want to capture snapshots of our Christmas Boat Parade. Auto? What do I do for night shooting with colorful Christmas lights?
LOL.

Here is what I do.

Find a place where the parade will pass under a street lamp or pass *some* kind of bright light.
Usually, the start of the parade will have a spotlight or something for the media to use so they can get shots.

You basically have two options. Flash or not.

If you use flash, you will need something more powerful than the one on the camera.
You will have to deal with the "red eye" and reflective vests and street signs, but it can be done.
Again, if you can position yourself near a streetlight or other bright light, this can help.

If you are going to not use a flash, I suggest a gimbal.
With a gimbal you can track your subjects as they move past you, so that you can use a slower shutter speed and still maintain detail.
If you don't have a gimbal, there are other "tracking" techniques you can use.

Unfortunately, a K-01 will probably be out of it's league when taking pictures of a parade at night.

Unless, you walk around, use the flash on the camera, and basically use the K-01 in the most basic way.

The K-01 would not be my choice to take along.
12-08-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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I've done a number of boat parades, always from a boat (kayak). If you have a K-01, you're in luck because it's one of the best low light cams out there! Looking back at the data, I was using ISO 3200-6400 and getting exposures of about 1/80 to 1/25 at 2.8. Here is a story I wrote up about kayaking the Ft Lauderale Winterfest Boat Parade:

Kayaking a Parade of Lights (Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade) | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

Note that many of these pics were actually taken with an old waterproof cam, including most of the panoramics, but this one is from the K-01 at 3200-6400: Winterfest Boat Parade Kayakfari kayak panorama - Dermandar

I just did another parade last night, paddling with the WG-3 which worked very well using both sensor and pixel shake reductions, most of my shots were done ISO 800-1600, 1/4 at 2.0, of course these are nowhere near as clean nor noise-free as the K-01 will produce, but I got some awesome shots I'd never take otherwise from a moving boat in the dark, and they're good enough for websize!

If you're on solid terra firma, you will have an easier time, hopefully you can set up a tripod and get the fastest lens you can get your hands on. You'll be further away, so your kit 40 lens is good but a 50/1.4 would be your best bet.


I love these parades, enjoy & have fun!

12-08-2013, 02:16 PM   #9
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I've never done a boat parade, but if it's mostly lights on the boats themselves (with the water acting as a big reflector), the K-01 probably can hold its own with the 40XS. For the annual Festival of Lights at Ginter Gardens in Richmond, I found that I had to stop down or push the ISO lower than 3200 to get the sky black instead of gray. You generally are going after patterns of light and color instead of sharp-sharp focus anyway, so just experiment and have fun with it!

Gardenfest 2012-13 - a set on Flickr
(all handheld, mix of K-01 and K-30, mix of lenses - in this situation, wider was usually better)
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