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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:00 am 
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Location: London, UK
Here's my shot of the Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. In looking at the one by HK Mark further down in the forum, it made me think- what are the best ways to capture a shot like this? (Maybe this question should be in the DSLR Tips section, but still).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/70255654@N00/2170511563/

I'm fairly pleased with my shot- but I didn't take long enough to choose the "right" settings. Here are a few questions...

1) If you have a tripod/flat surface, should you switch the ISO to 200 rather than the "Auto" I took the initial shots at (at maximum limited ISO of 800?

2) Would you get a better shot by choosing a very long shutter speed, as opposed to the one auto set by my D40s "P" mode? I tried this but didn't notice much significant improvement, while the shot came out very slightly blurry. However my shot is ever so slightly too dark, and there isn't much "going on" (I like the clouds in HK Mark's one)

3) This shot should have been taken at a larger f/number aperture, correct? 3.5 means little light (right?), and thus the scene would have been improved by using something like f/22 so there was more vibrancy, correct?

Anyway, apologies for what are basically internal musings, but if you can (excuse the pun) shed some light on the issue I'd be grateful!

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:48 am 
This is a beautiful and very colorful shot stevesayskanpai. I would be happy with it just as it is. However, night and low light shots can be improved by using low ISOs. The reason is that you get less noise at low sensitivity. Of course, you will have to increase your exposure time, as you were thinking. That means using a tripod (turn off anti-shake if you have it). Setting a larger aperture (smaller f/) can increase the amount of light you capture, but the sharpest pictures are made with f/ set to fit your lens (usually f/8, but fast lenses can be set lower). Getting the brightness you want is always a trade off between aperture size, ISO, and shutter release time. Selecting Auto, P, or M modes simply determines how much you want your camera to select these things for you. M mode is complete manual control.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:05 pm 
Beautiful photo!
Hong Kong at night always makes me think of the movie "Blade Runner"


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:27 am 
Hi Steve, I really like your shot from the Peak, it's a lot sharper than any of the ones I took! Did you use a tripod or were you just resting it on the railings up there? I didn't have a tripod at the time and thought I had it well placed, but I still got blur! Maybe it's my shaky hands, but from now on, I'm always going to use a tripod for any nighttime shots.

Using a tripod, I would go for ISO 100 every time. You don't have to worry about how long the shutter's going to stay open and you'll get the best quality pics.

I guess if the sky's clear like in your shot then a long exposure is fine because there are no clouds moving around. Did you catch the laser show while you were there? Maybe they only do it in summer. I have to go back again in June on a visa run and the last time I was there, last June, was when I first got my D80 so next time round I'll have had a lot more experience with it and hopefully get some better shots. HK's great in summer for clouds, but the heat's not so great!

With the aperture, I always thought using f22 would be the best, but then I found out that that can cause chromatic aberration, and I'm still not exactly sure what that is, but you don't want it :) I think it's best to play safe and stick around f11 or f14. Depending on what lens you have, you can even go to f8 and still keep everything in focus.

When I go back in summer, I'll go back up there and I'll definitely use a tripod, I'll use my Sigma 10-20mm to get nice wide shots and then just experiment with aperture and shutter speed. Hopefully it'll be nice and dramatically cloudy again and with a stunning laser show thrown in for good measure...fingers crossed :)

Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:44 pm 
Lower F number means a higher apeture and so more light goes in but at the expense of debth of feild. in a shot like this I guess you dont want a low number because you want to get as much in focus at the same time?

think of the F number as the bit in the camera that goes out and in to make the whole in the middle smaller. The smaller this bit is the bigger the whole in the middle and so more light.

here is a nice diagram:
Image

I would imagin the best way to do it would e to go for a tripod, use a high aperture, low ISO and a long shutter speed, but i am not that experianced so the others will be able to tell you better.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:49 am 
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We'll be doing a night photography workshop in DSLR Tips in the near future!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:08 am
Posts: 201
Location: London, UK
Thats great Gordon! :)

ChinaMark, I was resting it on the wall at the viewing point, putting it on 2 second self-timer and taking the shots that way. Thanks for your thoughts- I see now that if you can get the stability, low ISO is clearly better- 200 or 400. Also your points about aperture ring true with what I've read elsewhere- a "middle value" of around 8, 11 or 14 seems to make sense. I'm not sure (cant access flickr on the computer I'm typing this on) but I think my shot was taken at 5.6- too low, and an oversight on my part. I've got away with it with the clarity though, and a quick going over of all my recent photos in post-production has made the world of difference, getting them just how I want them! Will have to wait till next month to upload them to Flickr though...grrr

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