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 Post subject: First attempt
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:52 am
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Location: Surrey, UK
Hey everyone,

Just got back from taking some night photos of an old manor house I was at. It was my first attempt and I am quite surprised at how well they turned out. However I am no expert so was wondering if you guys thought they where any good? Any advice on how to improve the pictures would be great.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54600352@N02/sets/

I used aperture priority mode 18mm f3.5.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:51 pm 
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For Night shots "I" advice M mode :)

You have more control over the light, since you need to control the shutter speed.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Location: Surrey, UK
I will eventually start using manual mode when I become better at judging what settings would be right to use in certain situations.

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Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:32 am 
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I think you need to think more about your composition. These photos all have the subject bang in the middle and the horizon is also pretty much dead-centre throughout.

You've shown 6 photos, but they are all essentially the same. If you're taking a set, why not show different aspects of your subject/theme? You could shoot from different angles, wide, zoomed in, high/low, inside, some macro detail etc... tell the whole story.

As for your camera settings - I hardly ever take my camera out of aperture priority mode and I almost never use full manual mode. If I want to stop action or blur motion, then I sometimes use shutter priority, or maybe I'll just select a different ISO or aperture....

For your shots, I would have used aperture priority and let the camera choose the shutter speed. If i wanted more or less light, then I would use exposure compensation.

f3.5 is probably the widest aperture on your lens. Since most of your shots are landscape, it's often worth selecting a smaller aperture (larger f-number) to get more of your landscape in focus. Furthermore, lens sharpness usually peaks around f/8. However, I don't think this would have made much difference for your particular shots since many of them contain lots of darkness.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:30 am 
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I agree with kimchi

Presumably you are using a tripod, so first up I would change the aperture to F8-F11. This will give you maximum possible sharpness and increased depth of field. Then descrase ISO to your lowest default setting.

Aperture Priority or Manual, it's up to you. Personally the only time I use manual is when taking shots at night while using a tripod. That's also the only time I use live view for critical focussing. If you do not have a remote shutter release, then it's good practise to used delayed exposure (instead of single shot, or continual shot) to maximise your sharpness.

If there are light sources in your image, you will always have potential blown highlights. It is often not possible to eradicate these altogether, but it's good practise to minimise them as much as possible. For example, in your first image the lights, especially around the middle of the building, are quite hot. If you'd taken the shot in Manual, seen this, and then adjusted the shutter to be slightly quicker you would have solved the problem of the lights, but would have lost the colour in the twilight sky.

So there are always compromises when taking a single exposure at night like this. Options to solve the problem are to bracket and merge the best bits of each exposure in photoshop or photomatix, but probably the easiest is to adjust the highlights/shadows sliders in photoshop elements (if you use this).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:12 pm 
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Location: Surrey, UK
hi,
thanks for all the feedback I was using a tripod for some of the photos. The ones I used a tripod for I used f8 and a much slower shutter speed.

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Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:23 am 
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Nice, but they're all very similar and a little too centred for my taste. I love the rule of thirds! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:04 am
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Location: Hampshire, UK
I think its a good first attempt! There is a lot you have to think about with pics and the more you take the easier it becomes. As per above comments, the composition and exposure are not quite right.

Personally I would use Shutter Priority for this task and have a play, once I get close to where I want to be, I would then go into manual mode and set all the settings I had in SP mode, then I would tweak it from there to get the image perfect. For you, stick with Shutter or Aperture priority mode and have a play with different settings until you are more comfortable with the settings on your camera and the relations between them.

Here are a few tips to help you out and hopefully make your life a little easier with a first attempt:

1) When you think of a picture you want to take, before you go out and take it, go on to Camera Labs or Flickr and search out the pictures you are going to take, i.e. "Building at night" or "Landscapes" or what ever and then look at the picture that matches what you are trying to achieve and look at the EXIF data of that picture, this can give you pointers in the right direction of what exposure, iso etc to use. There are some instances where they will not help you so be careful. Also it will help give you ideas of framing a shot, look all over the pictures and see what is in each corner and how the rule of thirds have been applied etc.

2) Definitely follow the rule of thirds, this will help you frame your shot better. You can search ROT out in Google. You can sometimes break this rule. Just remember to never put the horizon in the middle of a picture.

3) I try to find things to help lead the viewers eye into the picture, below gives you an idea of what I am trying to say, I have used the road that leads to the building so it comes from the corner of the picture and leads your eye towards the building, as if you are driving up to it. (not perfect, but I think slightly better framed).

Image

In the short time I have been on this forum I have picked up so many ideas and tips by reading posts, looking at pictures and it really will help you so I recommend a lot of digging, reading and idea nicking!!

:D

Hope this helps....

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