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Jan Rifkinson
December 7th, 2006, 09:43 AM
Not sure where this thread goes. ADMIN pls move if not appropriate here.

I spent one evening shooting night scenes/xmas lights in my 'quaint' New England town, foolishly thinking I might capture some of the holiday 'spirit" (main st houses all decorated, street lamps, etc). Just about froze my tush off but thinking about all the beautiful photos kept me warm.

using my 20-35 EF F2.8, I tried to lower my ISO as much as I could dependent on the subect. No tripod which limited my range.

Anyway, some pix were blurry -- too slow --, some blurry -- lens @ 28.? --, some underexposed, some blossomed at the lights/also full moon.

In short, they all stunk. All 1.5 gig worth

I'm also finding this same problem shooting room interiors w normal artificial lighting, i.e. lamps, etc.

So I need some advice for shooting with the above lens (the fastest one I've got at the moment). A tripod I understand but settings/exposures, etc ideas would be very much appreciated. If you think the lens sucks, feel free.. I'm open to all thoughts on this subject.

TIA

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 09:59 AM
Hi Jan
Please post one or more samples so we can get a better idea of the issue.
Are you shooting raw?
The tripod is the best thing you can do to your lense, whatever lense you'll use!

All the best

Will_Perlis
December 7th, 2006, 10:44 AM
What Nicolas said, and also that at f/2.8 you're going to have a shallow DOF and also most likely flare from point light sources like Christmas lights.

I can do a bit better with RAW but there's really no way to get a room light source AND the room to show detail unless you add flash and do some careful balancing. There's just too much dynamic range for a sensor or film to handle.

Don Lashier
December 7th, 2006, 10:50 AM
Yup, like Nicholas and Will said, tripod is a must. Don't be afraid of high ISO either although with a tripod you can be conservative.

There's just too much dynamic range for a sensor ...

With a tripod you might bracket and HDR merge, or just use film like Erik did. (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1652) :)

- DL

Asher Kelman
December 7th, 2006, 10:59 AM
We need more of LF like that!

BTW, tripods are very important to al sharp photography no matter what camera. The heavier the better. Even wind can shake a tripod or a passing truck!

Asher

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 12:14 PM
Well, some tricks to make it easier:
USE:
- fast and good lense
- a tripod (I agree, a heavy one if possible)
- 8 if you want a bit of DOF, 11 if you can
- 200 ISO is not bad at all if nothing moves
DO:
- lock the mirror
- If some items are moving and you want them sharp, increase ISO until you reach the right shutter speed but remember, the lower the ISO the higher the DR...
- If you want to merge many pics for HDR, nothing must move between shots unless you want some "special effects"
- Push gently on the shutter button
DON'T:
- put your arm's weight on the camera body
- breath
- beleive in IS if you're using a tripod

good luck and enjoy the results!

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 12:19 PM
1600 ISO:

http://www.claris.fr/Diaporama_EXPO_DUPON/images/_G8A3146_120x80.jpg

Asher Kelman
December 7th, 2006, 12:21 PM
One word:

Magnificent!

Asher

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 12:28 PM
3200 ISO Hand held:
http://clarisorganisation.free.fr/diapo/Voiles_Saint_Tropez_2006/Diaporama_Strop/images/_G8A6661.jpg

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 12:30 PM
3200 ISO - Hand held:
http://clarisorganisation.free.fr/diapo/Voiles_Saint_Tropez_2006/Diaporama_Strop/images/_G8A5581.jpg

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 12:32 PM
OK, one more:
http://clarisorganisation.free.fr/diapo/Voiles_Saint_Tropez_2006/Diaporama_Strop/images/_G8A5560.jpg

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 01:04 PM
another day in Miami - 1600 ISO - Evrything was moving...
http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/91AU9007_DxO.jpg

Ivan Garcia
December 7th, 2006, 03:19 PM
Hi Nicolas.
I just simply love your picture of the boat still being worked on, the contrast of the working man and the table, which I assume was set up for the new owners to celebrate the birth of their new pride and joy, is just magnificent.
No wonder you are a well sough after nautical photographer, one of these days, (read years) when I get my (very much modest) boat, I would love for you to take pictures of it, now how much was your hourly rates? :-)
Did I say I love your work? ;-)

John Sheehy
December 7th, 2006, 04:41 PM
There's just too much dynamic range for a sensor or film to handle.

Many sensors have more DR than you can get out of them - it is often the support circuitry that creates the noise floor that limits DR at the camera's lowest ISO.

Jan Rifkinson
December 7th, 2006, 05:09 PM
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/screen_dumps/_c3n3395.jp2

Ken Tanaka
December 7th, 2006, 06:13 PM
All right, Nicolas. You're clearly master of the nautical night shots!

To your excellent advice I would add
DO
- use your camera's 2 sec shutter release,
- take your hands completely off the camera before the shutter trips, and
- use the viewfinder shutter if you have any light source behind you. It will prevent any light from flowing back through the eyepiece and contaminating the edges of the image.

I'll add two of my own modest entries to this jamboree.

Venetian Night at Chicago Yacht Club , 2004
ISO 800 (I think), handheld, EF 70-300 f/4 DO IS:
http://www.pbase.com/tanakak/image/60322676.jpg

Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, Grant Park
ISO 400 (I think), mounted, 70-200 f/2.8L IS:
http://www.pbase.com/tanakak/image/54335917.jpg

Nicolas Claris
December 7th, 2006, 11:31 PM
Hi Nicolas.
I just simply love your picture of the boat still being worked on, the contrast of the working man and the table, which I assume was set up for the new owners to celebrate the birth of their new pride and joy, is just magnificent.
No wonder you are a well sough after nautical photographer, one of these days, (read years) when I get my (very much modest) boat, I would love for you to take pictures of it, now how much was your hourly rates? :-)
Did I say I love your work? ;-)
Thanks Ivan for your kind words
the 1st picture is part of an advertising campaign, that is developped during 3 years as a tryptic. This one is the 1st, the 2nd one (already posted in one of the OPF fora) is there (http://www.claris.fr/Diaporama_EXPO_DUPON/pages/_G8A7507_150x225.htm), the 3rd one will be shot in Feb 2007.
In regards to your next yacht, my agenda is open! However, be aware that I don't charge per hour but per day...;-)

Nicolas Claris
December 8th, 2006, 12:58 AM
- use your camera's 2 sec shutter release,
- take your hands completely off the camera before the shutter trips, and
- use the viewfinder shutter if you have any light source behind you. It will prevent any light from flowing back through the eyepiece and contaminating the edges of the image.
How could I have forgot that, of course! you're right Ken, thanks for adding...

BTW you're photo with the boat is nice too! even if the boat is not the subject, the group of singers seems to float in the air...
You could have also post one of your shots of the light towers in the Millenium Park, awesome!

This one is a Spanish night, hope Ivan will like it too!
http://claris.fr/See/heat/Slideshow_Heat/images/_G8A1649.jpg

Nicolas Claris
December 8th, 2006, 01:40 AM
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/screen_dumps/_c3n3395.jp2
Too bad, Jan, your link doesn't work, even if corrected like this:
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/screen_dumps/_c3n3395.jpg
Can you check?
Thanks!

Ralph Eisenberg
December 8th, 2006, 04:08 AM
Beautiful work Nicolas.

As has been mentioned already, the value of IS technology when no alternative exists to a hand-held shot cannot be over-emphasized. Having a small bubble-level that fits in the flash-shoe is useful when no tripod is available as is opportunistic use of whatever props may be available to support your camera, using a pair of socks to bolster the lens. Primitive, but it works. As Nicolas's shots demonstrate, confidence is not misplaced in using higher ISO settings when necessary, despite the constriction of DR.

Jan Rifkinson
December 8th, 2006, 06:15 AM
Hi Jan
Please post one or more samples so we can get a better idea of the issue.
Are you shooting raw?
Nicolas, I dream of taking pictures like yours.

From all the advice it is clear that I made many mistakes. I think principally was not using a tripod -- it was in car trunk <g> -- because w/o that, my setting options were very much limited, i.e. more DOF, etc.

Putting that reality aside, I would appreciate any comments on settings that you (or anyone) care to make. These photos are completely untouched RAW -> jpg conversions. I know I can clean them up somewhat in post prod but that's not the point of this thread for me. I'm really interested in learning how to shoot low light/night shots w fast lens because I really like shooting in available light, don't like flash much even tho I will be getting one soon.

Church: shutter 1/25, f 2.8, ISO 1250, lens 20-35
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-1.jpg

House: Shutter 1/13, f2.8, iso 3200, lens 20-35
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-2.jpg

BTW, Nicolas, on a personal note, I see you are writing from Bordeaux. It's a small world as my very good friend (40 yrs) is Jean-Marie Chadronnier of Bordeaux. I visit Bordeaux quite often.

Nicolas Claris
December 8th, 2006, 07:18 AM
Bonjour Jan
Yes our World is small... I do not know your friend, but if you google his name you'll bet is well known in the vineyard community, more than that he has a great influence in the city and over the wine world... When you come around, give a call (I mean PM) and I'll come to taste his wine with you :-)))))))

I guess it's him: http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/Q3302802.jpg...

In regards to your picture, I like the church, very simple, a bit of work, the gradient stairs, enhance a bit the color of the crowns on the door, the side wall and around the bell, a bit of USM, lightn a little, a touch of Noise Ninja et voil&#224;!

http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/test-1b.jpg

For the other one it's a bit more tricky on a low res pic...
more sat, enhance sky, noise Ninja, take your shadow and the small sign in front off, sharpening....

http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/test-2b.jpg

this is all post prod on low res, so not easy, but from the raw I'm sure you get'em much better.

Otherwise, read above all tricks posted and you'll improve a lot! you started very well...

have a nice day

Ken Tanaka
December 8th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Night photography is some of the best fun you can have with a camera. Digital photography has made it so much easier than in film days. Within a shot or two you can pretty much peg the exposure you want to create. Once you realize that the camera's meter is not very useful for this task you are free to have your way.

Night and low-light photography do, however, present starker challenges for composition. Generally speaking, the dark heaviness of many subjects' surroundings and the relative brightness of your main subjects mandates that you "get to the point" more abruptly than in standard daylight photography. Like applying a dark paint to a light canvas you must decide how much darkness is just enough to convey the emotional and sensory nature of the scene in a small silent rectangle. Practice whittling your compositions, particularly night shots, down to their bare essence and then work outwards to determine how much is too much.

In the case of your images, using the moon as a compositional element can be very challenging. You must ask yourself what visual role the moon really plays in the scene? Would you be taking the picture if the moon wasn't there? Does its presence convey the right message with respect to your intentions? Pretty as it may be is it actually more of a distraction in the frame? Perhaps just using its soft, cold, blue shine on the subjects, rather than the orb itself, is a better strategy.

I have cropped down your images to illustrate my point of deciding how much is just enough.
http://www.pbase.com/tanakak/image/71373434.jpg

http://www.pbase.com/tanakak/image/71373437.jpg

Have fun on your explorations!

Jan Rifkinson
December 8th, 2006, 02:58 PM
I need some advice for shooting with the above lens (the fastest one I've got at the moment). A tripod I understand but settings/exposures, etc ideas would be very much appreciated.
I'm sort of answering myself to thank all of you who contributed to & taking the time to answer my question(s). It has been extremely helpful to me. I take away the following basic point: a TRIPOD is really necessary for all the technical adjustments I should have made but couldn't because decreasing my ISO & increasing my f-stops would have resulted in shaky shots. I have two tripods -- I could easily have used one of them.

But here are two points which I'm still un-sure of:

(1) is the lens I was using worth much or should I change it? And if so, what lens would you suggest for a wide end, fast lens? I ask this because I read somewhere that the lens I was using proeduces soft shots @ f2.8. That can't help for night shots under the best of circumstances <g>.

(2) What is the best way to control the blooming lights? The moon is one thing but the electric lights are something else IMO. What's the effect of hi ISO & wide open vs droppring ISO & using a higher f-stop?

Because I shoot RAW I know I have a lot of latitude in post production & I'm going to work on my 2 submissions & re-submit them as a before/after effort but lights don't bloom to the eye & I'd like to get that level of adjustment in the camera if possible. I just don't understand the approach to achieving more of the eye's of balance with the 1D-MkII.

This is a helluva resource for anyone interested in photography. What a treasure.

Don Lashier
December 8th, 2006, 03:05 PM
Jan, the 20-35 f2.8 isn't canon's best WA, but then it isn't bad either - should be fine.

AFA blooming, usually a certain amount is fine. If it becomes an issue you might try bracketed shots around 2 stops apart then merge in PS using the dark shot for the blooming lights.

- DL

Will_Perlis
December 8th, 2006, 03:44 PM
What Don said. You can see some blooming/flare in Nicolas' shots too, it's a question of how much is too much for you. I'd think getting rid of it totally wouldn't look natural either.

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 05:10 AM
Jan, the 20-35 f2.8 isn't canon's best WA, but then it isn't bad either - should be fine.

AFA blooming, usually a certain amount is fine. If it becomes an issue you might try bracketed shots around 2 stops apart then merge in PS using the dark shot for the blooming lights.


What's the best WAz IYO?

AFA PS merging, I understand the concept, know how to bracket but don't yet know how to 'merge' but I'll figure it out.

PS. What happened to Nicolas' comments & his photos? They disappeared from the thread.

Ray West
December 9th, 2006, 05:29 AM
PS. What happened to Nicolas' comments & his photos? They disappeared from the thread.

They're here now, - maybe the tide went out.

Nicolas Claris
December 9th, 2006, 06:10 AM
Strange... I have done nothing, just a good full night sleep...
One can never be sure of what can happen when you sleep, tsss, tssss

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 08:16 AM
They're here now, - maybe the tide went out.
Eeeeek.... no link "here". I'm getting paranoid. Maybe 'my' tide went out & I don't even know it.

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 08:40 AM
I guess it's him: http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/Q3302802.jpg...
Yup, that's him.

OK, back to work. Here's the final product, open for comments. Please don't be shy. I have a thick skin. <g>

Original Church
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-1.jpg
Final Church
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-1a.jpg

Original House
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-2.jpg
Final House
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-2a.jpg

Ray West
December 9th, 2006, 08:46 AM
Jan, are you saying you can't see any of the photos in this thread, or just all, or some of those from Nicolas are missing. You have not linked to yours, such that they automatically appear, is that a problem? Is it all OK now, wrt Nicolas's images.

Best wishes,

Ray

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 08:58 AM
Ray, I see all photos except for the orignal ones that Nicolas posted earlier on, with his comments, i.e. the entire msg is not there for me. My links are just the product of my ignorance; I thought that was the way to do it. For the future, what's the correct way to do it?

Asher Kelman
December 9th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Hi Jan,

Could you clear your cache and try again? I'm getting all the images AFAIK!

Asher

Ray West
December 9th, 2006, 09:20 AM
Hi Jan,

Nicolas made a quick short text response, first reply to your op, then after a note by Asher, a few hints from Nicolas, then five posts ,images and iso settings, interupted by a post from Asher. I wonder if you have a forum pages setting set differently, or something.

to post your own images, (the simple way)

select the fifth icon from right on line of icons above the reply message box (the icon loooks like an envelope, since it seems to have a 'stamp' in its top rh corner,) then paste your url into the text dialog box that opens, and select OK


http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/test-1a.jpg


I could go back and edit your post, I expect, but maybe you can try yourself, if there is time.

Best wishes,

Ray

Nicolas Claris
December 9th, 2006, 09:41 AM
Ray, I see all photos except for the orignal ones that Nicolas posted earlier on, with his comments, i.e. the entire msg is not there for me. My links are just the product of my ignorance; I thought that was the way to do it. For the future, what's the correct way to do it?
May be my 1st message are on a previous page of the same thread, this depends of your settings from your control panel...

To insert an image INSIDE your message, use the http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/images/editor/insertimage.gif to paste the URL...

Will_Perlis
December 9th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Strange... I'm seeing them all. Cache-clearing is the next thing to try.

[Really, the correct way to go is take the computer apart, clean each and every contact, re-format the disks, re-install every bit of software, get every update, and try again. Anyway, that's the kind of advice I get when I try almost any company's tech support these days. "Yes, it's plugged in. Yes, the power is on. Yes, I know what I'm doing, I've been dealing with computers since well before you were an ovum and sperm living apart ...."]

Nicolas Claris
December 9th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Hi Jan
the new chruch image:
IMHO, you did try to enlight it to much, the front piece of the church is nearly blown out...
The sky have lost its deep darkness and the moon is even more burned out
It is not enough sharpen (sharpening also adds presence and strength)

Sorry but for this one, your skin isn't thick enough !-)
Just in case you still can't see my previous comments, you may see the image here (http://mnclaris.free.fr/forum/test-1b.jpg)

As per your new "House" image, it is far to much enlightened, soft and blur!
The distortion due to the angle of shoot (looking upward) is increased by the crop...
In a night shot, you have to find the right balance between light and dark (black) when you get it it's magic...

Sorry again, if you want, go to http://www.yousendit.com/ and send me your raw file (Ill PM you my email), I'll be happy to try and post the result I can get...

Have a great day and... night!

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 01:57 PM
the new chruch image:IMHO, you did try to enlight it to much, the front piece of the church is nearly blown out...
The sky have lost its deep darkness and the moon is even more burned out
It is not enough sharpen (sharpening also adds presence and strength)As per your new "House" image, it is far to much enlightened, soft and blur![snip]
The distortion due to the angle of shoot (looking upward) is increased by the crop...
In a night shot, you have to find the right balance between light and dark (black) when you get it it's magic...
Nicolas, thanks very much for your comments. I will go back to CS2 & try to find the magic. I agree totally about house. It seems for both you are saying I have too much punch which I did by narrowing the histogram levels band, i.e. black/white & playing w midrange. Then I added some contrast for blacks & unmask & noise filter. I worked in Adobe RGB, 16 bit TIFF, then converted to 8bit to save to jpeg & reduced image size via irfanview. I will experiment some more & yes, my skin is fine. A long time ago, I learned not to ask a question if I didn't want the answer :-) I also wonder what differences are shown on different monitors which is something that can't be helped. OK, back to work for me again.

PS, I now see Nicolas' images & comments.

Jan Rifkinson
December 9th, 2006, 02:07 PM
Night photography is some of the best fun you can have with a camera. Digital photography has made it so much easier than in film days. Within a shot or two you can pretty much peg the exposure you want to create. Once you realize that the camera's meter is not very useful for this task you are free to have your way.

Night and low-light photography do, however, present starker challenges for composition. Generally speaking, the dark heaviness of many subjects' surroundings and the relative brightness of your main subjects mandates that you "get to the point" more abruptly than in standard daylight photography. Like applying a dark paint to a light canvas you must decide how much darkness is just enough to convey the emotional and sensory nature of the scene in a small silent rectangle. Practice whittling your compositions, particularly night shots, down to their bare essence and then work outwards to determine how much is too much. I have cropped down your images to illustrate my point of deciding how much is just enough.
Ken, thanks for your comments. I agree about starkness of night shooting. It's even more difficult than shooting in B/W which I did for many years..... many years ago.

I wonder, in this context, if you would tell me why you would not want to see the shades of the side of the church. Doesn't that add perspective & drive to the front of the church which is brighter? Or in this case, does it water down the effect of the moon & front which are +/- the same in importance?

Don Lashier
December 9th, 2006, 02:13 PM
What's the best WAz IYO?
Actually, for a zoom, the 20-35/f2.8 rates very well, comparable or better to newer models (photodo 3.5). Main shortcoming is lack of USM, not IQ, imo USM is not a big deal for WA.
Photodo list (http://www.photodo.com/products.html?focaltype=7&name=Wide-angle+zoom)


AFA PS merging, I understand the concept, know how to bracket but don't yet know how to 'merge' but I'll figure it out.

Simplist method is to layer the two images, lighter on top, then copy the darker image to a mask on the lighter, then blur the mask to taste. There's an article on LL that describes it but I never seem to be able to locate it easily.

- DL

Ken Tanaka
December 10th, 2006, 12:47 AM
Ken, thanks for your comments. I agree about starkness of night shooting. It's even more difficult than shooting in B/W which I did for many years..... many years ago.

I wonder, in this context, if you would tell me why you would not want to see the shades of the side of the church. Doesn't that add perspective & drive to the front of the church which is brighter? Or in this case, does it water down the effect of the moon & front which are +/- the same in importance?
Hello Jan,
My crop of your church image was really just meant to illustrate the impact that reduction can have on an image. It's really an interpretive matter. In the case of this sort of vernacular architecture, which is typically so symmetric, you might ask yourself how much of the building you really need to show to convey its nature. One could, for example, make a strong argument for photographing the front facade square-on (and squared with a tilt-and-shift lens or a view camera) and only photographing the right half of the building and letting the upper right quadrant be filled with the night's blackness and the moon. Such a composition is a bit of a visual trick, rather subliminally forcing the viewer to fill-in the left half of the building in their mind's eye. I have, in fact, seen at least one terrific body of work (I can't recall the photographer, but it dated back to the 1940's) who did shoot just selective details of such rural buildings.. In this case, for example, he might have just grabbed the cupola and railing or the round window and clapboards.

In my opinion neither the moon nor the small bit of the church's side are constructive to the image's composition. The moon might actually be working against your intentions. Getting these elements involved more constructively would have required, respectively, perhaps timing the moon's motion to cast a glow on the dark side of the building and taking the shot perhaps ten steps to your right. The presence of the moon in that position casts a rather sinister "church of the dammed" feeling over the image. (This, of course, comes mainly from the enormous body of motion pictures that use the moon in exactly such compositions.)

Asher Kelman
December 10th, 2006, 01:29 AM
Ken I like your creative comments. I'd love the reference to the other photographer's work.

Asher

Jan Rifkinson
December 10th, 2006, 07:48 AM
In my opinion neither the moon nor the small bit of the church's side are constructive to the image's composition. The moon might actually be working against your intentions. Getting these elements involved more constructively would have required, respectively, perhaps timing the moon's motion to cast a glow on the dark side of the building and taking the shot perhaps ten steps to your right. The presence of the moon in that position casts a rather sinister "church of the dammed" feeling over the image. (This, of course, comes mainly from the enormous body of motion pictures that use the moon in exactly such compositions.)
Ken, I think your take on this photo is the difference between a snapshot (mine) vs photo-graphy or photo-art. If I had my 'druthers' I would have hoped that the moon was the light source for the church instead of part of the canvas & w/o DOF, basically on the same plane -- but that was not to be on that cold night when I walked the street experimenting w a new lens w/o a tripod. I agree w all your observations & one day hope to exhibit similar sensibilities in my photos. You might find a little of that in my albums; at least I hope so.

My interest in this thread started out as an interest in the technicalities of taking a good picuture at night. You've added the esthetics of such an endeavor. And of course, a good photograph -- day or night - requires both. Thanks very much for the discussion. It has given me an additional POV.

Jan Rifkinson
December 10th, 2006, 07:57 AM
Nicolas, et al, here is another attempt w the same two photos. It's probably boring for everyone but maybe someone reading this thread in the future will see a progression from bad to better night photos & read how to make that happen.

Night Church
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/forum_church.jpg

Night House
http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/forum_house.jpg

All post prod, resizing, etc was done within CS2. I hope you see some progress but if not, like I said, I have a thick skin & all comments are welcome as this is a learning experience for me. TIA

Nicolas Claris
December 10th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Yan
Your web server is very slow... it took me 3 attemps to be able to see your pics...
As to your images, there are well improved, you may try Ken's advise and try a version without the moon for the church image.
On the house image I feel the sign on the left still distracting, you should try to erase it as I did already post earlier. May be you should also try to darken the all image so the lights and the terrace will get out of the dark then be better focussed...

Jan Rifkinson
December 10th, 2006, 04:11 PM
Yan
Your web server is very slow... it took me 3 attemps to be able to see your pics...[snip]
Sorry about that & thanks for further suggestions. Much appreciated.

Asher Kelman
December 10th, 2006, 04:25 PM
Loads fine in Los Angeles. Probably a CIA substation, LOL!

Asher.

Kim Fullbrook
December 20th, 2006, 05:06 AM
The best things you can do are:
- use a tripod. There are some branches of photography that were meant to be done with a tripod and night shooting is one of them
- use low ISO setting. 200 on EOS works well
- Use a remote release to avoid shaking the camera. If you don't have one use the self timer to release the shutter
- in my experience with EOS mirror lockup is unnecessary unless you have a rubbish tripod or a very long lens
- use a prime lens rather than a zoom. This reduces the scope for internal reflections and flare
- remove any filter from the front of the lens to reduce reflections/flare
- use raw format to give yourself maximum flexibility when processing on the computer, especially for setting the white balance
- check the histogram to avoid underexposure
- Bracket your exposures - i.e. shoot several at different exposure settings
- take another series of shots after re-focussing. Ideally use CF4 or manual focus. Auto-focus often messes up when there are bright lights in the dark.

Asher Kelman
December 20th, 2006, 09:09 PM
The best things you can do are:
- use a tripod.
- use low ISO setting. 200 on EOS works well
- Use a remote release
- in my experience with EOS mirror lockup is unnecessary
- use a prime lens rather than a zoom. This reduces the scope for internal reflections and flare
- remove any filter from the front of the lens to reduce reflections/flare
- use raw format to give yourself maximum flexibility when processing on the computer, especially for setting the white balance
- check the histogram to avoid underexposure
- Bracket your exposures - i.e. shoot several at different exposure settings
- take another series of shots after re-focussing. Ideally use CF4 or manual focus.
Auto-focus often messes up when there are bright lights in the dark.

Kim,

The one glaring exception, mirror lockup, should never be discounted. If one is going through all of the above precautions, then NOT doing mirror lockup is hardly the right choice!

Mirror vibrations can be a large issue where there are brighter areas which will mark the darker areas.

When we are fussing so much with all the other things AND use a cable release MLU is no extra expense!

Asher

Erik DeBill
December 21st, 2006, 02:55 PM
The one glaring exception, mirror lockup, should never be discounted. If one is going through all of the above precautions, then NOT doing mirror lockup is hardly the right choice!

Mirror vibrations can be a large issue where there are brighter areas which will mark the darker areas.

When we are fussing so much with all the other things AND use a cable release MLU is no extra expense!

It really does make a difference. I used to only use it when I thought I "had" to, but going back I've found that those shots that used it were just a little sharper, on average, than those that didn't (all other things being equal). I now look at it as something to use unless I can't, rather than something to use when I have to. This is all using good (Gitzo) tripods and a good ball head (Acratech).

You'd be surprised at some of the times you can use it. Here's one with tripod, cable release, MLU and a 100-400 zoom at 400mm (and minimum focus). MLU was a noticeable help getting it sharp enough to print large.

http://www.solarphage.net/nature/Hornsby_Bend-2006-06-03/800x600/327-2799-green_tree_frog.800x600.jpg

Ken Tanaka
December 21st, 2006, 05:56 PM
Using mirror lock-up will almost certainly help to create a sharper long shot, Erik. (Nice peeking tree frog!)

Its impact on wide images is often less pronounced or non-existent. On several occasions while shooting at night I've experimented with mlu at focal lengths of approximately 16mm-35mm and found no discernible difference using it. On such shooting I typically will hang my camera bag on the tripod below the camera to increase the inertial mass.