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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk 
Thread started 27 Jun 2009 (Saturday) 19:53
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Night shots of buildings question..

 
chopper5654
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Jun 27, 2009 19:53 |  #1

i have been looking here and on flickr at a lot of night shots....mostly buildings. and, i see such a wide variation in f-stop settings and shutter speeds.

some i see around f/4 (or wider) and 1/8, and others will go the other direction to f/16 (or smaller) and 20 seconds plus.

now, it seems that the images are pretty sharp, even in the foregrounds. it doesnt really look as though the f-stop settings matter too much with such wide angle lenses (7mm - 20mm).

does it matter much? if not, why do i see such variance? one photographer in particular will vary his own stuff with the same lens. and, i dont understand why. it doesnt appear as though the dof is changing.

but, i am also, on flickr, only viewing smaller pics. maybe that has something to do with everything appearing crisp and focused??

thanks for any input.


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Jun 29, 2009 15:11 |  #2

It could be depth of field issues, trying to get more clarity across the whole frame, or it could be lighting issues - sometimes when I have a weird subject building, and I can't the right lighting, or I'm getting flare, or I want to get more flare, I may jack around going from larger aperture to a smaller one, so that my exposure time is longer, etc...




  
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Scottes
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Jul 01, 2009 08:27 |  #3

Depth of Field is quite larger on a wide angle lens.
http://www.dofmaster.c​om/dofjs.html (external link)

For example, a 10mm lens focused at something 50 feet away:
At f/4 DoF near limit is 3.98 feet, out to infinity.
At f/16, DoF near limit is 1.06 feet, out to infinity.
Both aperture choices mean that everything in your shot will (most likely) be in focus, assuming you're kneeling or standing up.


So using aperture to control DoF becomes somewhat meaningless since the DoF is so large. So with night photography, aperture is changed to get different effects. A small aperture, like f/22, will cause bright spotlights to have crisp "stars" around them.
http://scottes.smugmug​.com …436_zi8Y3#57001​6395_9Lr5c (external link)

Sometimes you don't want that, sometimes you do. Sometimes the lights are large and soft, so you won't get great stars anyway, so the aperture is changed to control the exposure time. Here I wanted something relatively fast, because the police officer wasn't going to stay *absolutely* still for too long.
http://scottes.smugmug​.com …436_zi8Y3#57141​2954_WD3TU (external link)

Same idea on this shot. The clouds were hauling ass across the sky, so I wanted a faster shutter speed, so I opened up the aperture to f/4 or f/5.6 to get the fastest shutter speed.
http://scottes.smugmug​.com …436_zi8Y3#57178​4042_JaNex (external link)

And sometimes you just want the smallest aperture to get the longest exposure time. Here I wanted the headlights on the lower left to wrap fully around the building. I did not want the headlights to suddenly end somewhere in the frame. So f/22 gave me the longest exposure time, allowing a car to travel the full distance around the buildings.
http://scottes.smugmug​.com …436_zi8Y3#57140​5620_gK78H (external link)


In the end, wide angles allows a large DoF with most every aperture setting, so aperture becomes "less important" for DoF, since many aperture settings will give everything in focus. Thus aperture settings can be used to control other things, like stars around lights, and shutter speed.

Go out any shoot some extreme examples. Take a bunch of shots at f/4 and f/22. Note what happens. Even though DoF probably doesn't change noticeably, other stuff will change.


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chopper5654
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Jul 01, 2009 12:46 |  #4

thanks again, scottes. this is sort of what i was thinking, but had no way of explaining it.....even to myself.

i had no idea about the "star" effect with a shrinking aperture. i'll have to find a spot to try that out and see if i cant get what i want after a bit.


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Scottes
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Jul 01, 2009 12:57 |  #5

Try different lenses, too. The number of aperture blades affects the number of star points.


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chopper5654
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Jul 01, 2009 19:16 |  #6

Scottes wrote in post #8207076 (external link)
Try different lenses, too. The number of aperture blades affects the number of star points.

can you explain this a bit further? i am sure i can find a link, but am too lazy to go on a search right now.

is it the places where the blades overlap and cause (visually to my mind) "star points" since they cant close to form a complete circle, but rather a jagged circle??

i can remember back to my original SLR (non-digital) and i could see the aperture open and close, so i know the visual of the blades. i just cant see that again, being that my camera is digital now.....well, i assume i cant since the control dial is on the body not the lens; i havent tried.


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Scottes
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Jul 01, 2009 20:55 |  #7

chopper5654 wrote in post #8208951 (external link)
can you explain this a bit further? i am sure i can find a link, but am too lazy to go on a search right now.

http://dptnt.com …sparkles-in-night-photos/ (external link)

chopper5654 wrote in post #8208951 (external link)
is it the places where the blades overlap and cause (visually to my mind) "star points" since they cant close to form a complete circle, but rather a jagged circle??

Basically, yes.

chopper5654 wrote in post #8208951 (external link)
i can remember back to my original SLR (non-digital) and i could see the aperture open and close, so i know the visual of the blades. i just cant see that again, being that my camera is digital now.....well, i assume i cant since the control dial is on the body not the lens; i havent tried.

You could probably see it if you looked into the lens as you pressed the shutter button - a long shutter speed would help, as would a wide angle lens, I'm sure. You'd get a terrible shot of your eye, but you'd probably see the aperture blades.


An interesting quote from the above link:
"If there are odd number of aperture blades in the lens, you get 2X the number of points for the sparkle. If the lens has even number of aperture blades, you get the same number of points as the number of the blades due to over-lapping points of sparkle."


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CStheGreat
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Jul 18, 2009 16:05 |  #8

Fantastic information Scottes.




  
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Architective
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Aug 04, 2009 22:54 as a reply to  @ CStheGreat's post |  #9

Can you talk a bit about how ISO values tie in to all of this? I shot a building the other night, and the more I blew them up, the more the graininess of the shots came through. I was shooting on an aperture priority mode on my 50D with a Tamron 10-24, so the ISO was selected automatically. These were all taken with a tripod and a remote release, so camera shake shouldn't enter in to this.

I'm frustrated, and would like to get rid of this problem. Can I manually control and lower the ISO and open the aperture as much as possible?

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Scottes
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Aug 05, 2009 05:24 |  #10

There's no reason to have auto-ISO when you're shooting night shots from a tripod. Disable it, and use ISO 100. Be prepared that the exposures will be longer.

Noise reduction software may help, too, but you shouldn't need it for any ISO 100 night shots.

Nice shots, btw.


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Architective
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Aug 05, 2009 09:08 as a reply to  @ Scottes's post |  #11

Thanks, I'm glad you like them.

I guess I didn't consider the iso when shooting them. I viewed them on the camera's preview and they looked great so I didn't consider changing anything.

Another thing I've thought about after the fact is that I didn't use the mirror lock and I was using the Live-View feature on the camera.

Gotta learn every time to make the next shoot better! Thanks for the help.




  
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Scottes
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Aug 05, 2009 09:32 |  #12

Architective wrote in post #8402956 (external link)
I guess I didn't consider the iso when shooting them.

Part of the learning experience.

"I didn't consider the telephone pole sticking out of her head."
"I didn't consider the bright spot in the background."
"I didn't consider the piece of trash on the ground."

Eventually you learn to slow down and consider *everything* before pressing the shutter. Well, I'm still learning...

Architective wrote in post #8402956 (external link)
Another thing I've thought about after the fact is that I didn't use the mirror lock and I was using the Live-View feature on the camera.

Live-View provides mirror lock-up. The mirror has to stay out of the way of the sensor so that the view is live.

Also, MLU is generally not needed when the shot is between 1 second and 1/30 second. But it never hurts unless you in a rush.

Architective wrote in post #8402956 (external link)
Gotta learn every time to make the next shoot better!

Yep.


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Aug 05, 2009 09:46 |  #13

Architective wrote in post #8401057 (external link)
Can you talk a bit about how ISO values tie in to all of this? I shot a building the other night, and the more I blew them up, the more the graininess of the shots came through. I was shooting on an aperture priority mode on my 50D with a Tamron 10-24, so the ISO was selected automatically. These were all taken with a tripod and a remote release, so camera shake shouldn't enter in to this.

I'm frustrated, and would like to get rid of this problem. Can I manually control and lower the ISO and open the aperture as much as possible?

You can set "in camera noise reduction" to turn on at specific exposure times. even at 100 ISO the longer the exposure, the more noise you may see because the sensor is heating up (I'm probably wrong on the exact technical reasons why but anyway....) as the sensor heats up it creates more noise. I have mine set so that any exposure longer than 1 second automatically kicks it to in camera noise reduction. this will double the time it takes to actually take the picture because the NR takes as long as the exposure time.

so for example: if your exposure was 30 seconds, it would take the camera 30 seconds to add the NR after the shutter closed meaning the whole shot would take a minute until you could shoot again. I've had very good success with the in camera NR for long exposure shots and didn't need any additional NR in post.


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Scottes
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Aug 05, 2009 10:05 |  #14

Good point. I wish that I had the patience to wait the extra time for in-camera NR to do it's thing.


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Architective
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Aug 26, 2009 14:06 as a reply to  @ Scottes's post |  #15

What kind of noise reduction software is available?




  
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Night shots of buildings question..
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