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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:29 pm 
Hi everyone,

So i was wondering if you could all give me some advice please :)

With reguards to shooting in dark conditions what do you do? I'm mainly thinking of shooting animals in dark woodlands with no tripod and flash. So what do you do?

I find myself mostly shooting in A mode but when it comes to shooting in dark places i find that shooting in A mode sets the shutter speed too slow to be handheld, espically using a telephoto lens at 300mm. So the only way i've figured to get a fairly decent exposure is by switching to shutter speed priority setting the shutter speed to about 1/75 and then adjusting the exposure compensation/white balance and if i have to the iso.

Do any of you have any other methods? i don't really like having to up the iso. I want to figure this out now so no other situations happen when i'm triyng to shoot a deer but having to worry about changing the settings and not really knowing what to use :p

Thanks everyone.

Shane


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:33 pm 
fully manual works best for me in low light conditions. sometimes the lighting gets a little too tricky.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:47 pm 
Ok fully manual, but what are the first settings you change?

Imagine you're in the woods and you stumble upon a deer but its pretty dark and you have to act very fast. What would you do? Change to fully manual then what?

I know everyone works differently but i'm just trying to figure what each person does to figure the best way to go about it and hopefully this will help me find my own way :)

Thanks again.

Shane


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Hi Shane, as you know it's all about getting the right amount of light into your camera. If you want a certain shutter speed to freeze the action or avoid shake but it's dark, then you can only do one of the following:

1: Increase the ISO to make your camera more sensitive to the conditions.

2: Gather more light by using a lens with a brighter aperture (smaller f-number).

3: Generate more light on the subject - flash, torch etc.

Since you don't want to do option 3, and option 2 would probably involve buying an expensive lens, then your only other option is number 1.

As for mode, I'd personally stick to Shutter or aperture priority. Using manual won't help gather more light. Instead it might lull you into a false sense of security thinking you can shoot at 1/75 at (I'm guessing) f5.6 in dark conditions at low ISOs. All you'd end up with are black frames.

Palakaboy is right that it can be useful to lock a setting, but even then it won't fix your problem of low light and how to maximise it. I prefer one of the auto settings as the camera will at least be warning you there isn't enough light and you need to do something about it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:51 am 
You cannot change the laws of nature so there is no magic trick to solve this.

The only options you have that don't require more drastic measures are upping the ISO and see how much of the noise you can remove in PP and whether you can live with the result that produces, or, if the subject is static enough, look for ways to get a more stable shot so you can use longer exposures. If you don't want to use a tripod a monopod might be acceptable. Or the bolt-with-string-and-big-washer type camera stabiliser. Or rest your camera on/against some object. You'll have to use the possibilities the specific situation allows so you'll have to develop an array of camera stabilisation techniques. Perhaps a topic for Gordon for a workshop if he hasn't already done one.

Ben


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:34 pm 
Thanks for the replies.

I figured basically what you guys are saying i just wondered and hoped there was something i was missing :)

So i was using shutter and i set the speed to 1/75 (which in another post i was told this is probably the best speed for shooting at 300mm with vr on.) and i believe it was f5.6 and it was indeed just a black frame. So i changed the exposure compensation and upped the iso to 600 which gave me a pretty dark scene but good enough to be able to bring out the highlights in photoshop.

So i guess i'll stick with shutter priority mode.

Thanks for all your help :)

Shane


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:03 pm 
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Hi Shane, positive exposure compensation isn't gonna help in this situation. All it will do is request that the camera overexposes, but if you've locked the shutter speed and the aperture is already at its widest opening, it literally has nowhere to go.

Without a brighter lens, more light or a slower shutter, all you can do is increase the ISO until the EV scale balances at zero.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:37 pm 
Gordon Laing wrote:
Hi Shane, positive exposure compensation isn't gonna help in this situation. All it will do is request that the camera overexposes, but if you've locked the shutter speed and the aperture is already at its widest opening, it literally has nowhere to go.

Without a brighter lens, more light or a slower shutter, all you can do is increase the ISO until the EV scale balances at zero.


Ah, thanks Gordon. I guess i was misunderstanding exposure compensation and thinking of it in other situations where i use it to darken images etc, my mistake there and thanks for making me see that now. So now i guess i fully understand my options. Thank you all for that :)

Shane


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