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Night photos

Discussion in 'Digital photography' started by pclemmit, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. pclemmit

    pclemmit Guest

    Hi and thanks for reading.

    I would describe my self as an intermediate digital photographer, I have taken some fantastic stills with my Minolta 4Mp camera. However during a recent trip to Turkey I found my self wanting to take more and more night photos, however a problem soon presented its self.

    When a shot was taken on the instant playback it was just a mass of blurred lights streaked accross the screen, I soon worked out that the shutter takes longer to close in the dark and I was moving it to fast leading to the streaks. It is like the photos seen on a road photo (at night) with just the trail of moving head and tail lights. Despite trying to manually correct shutter speed and various other features I was not unable to, mainly due to the fact a hard crack was received from my girlfriend for playing with it too often. Was I heading in the right direction??

    Any one with any advice or reasons on the problem I experienced would be greatly received.

    Many thanks
  2. omronguru

    omronguru Guest

    You have the right idea, not really au-fait with this model, Does it have a setting marked B or Bulb? this will keep the shutter open as long as the button is pressed.
    Even if it doesn't, maybe you have options to up the ISO setting, also your blurred lights maybe a stability issue, to take long exposures you need to mount the camera securely, even the action of pressing the shutter release and the shutter opening can cause movement, so try to really securely mount the camera then gently press the button. You don't necessarily need a tripod for this, an ideal solution is to make a beanbag. A real cheap tip for this is and has worked for me in the past is to take two large socks, (football socks or the like) now, roughly stitch them side by side. you can fill them with those polystyrene beads or similar, or if you don't wanna carry them round, fit each sock with a long balloon which you can inflate as and when needed, practice with which pressure works well, use some sort of clip to secure the ballons so you can let them down when finished. Oh Yes! the reason for sowing the socks together is so that you can form a V-shape for the camera to rest in, this can then rest on a wall or fence. Another bonus is that the V on the bottom can be used to perch the balloons on fence edges or even a lowered car window.
  3. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

    May 31, 2003
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    If you are getting streaking lights, then it is automatically (or you are manually) adjusting for the level of light and keeping the shutter open for a predetermined length of time. This is good if you have a tripod, however, if hand-held it can lead to problems.

    To combat a longer shutter speed you really only have two options:
    1)> Increase the aperture of the camera to its widest F stop available (if it has F2.8 or wider if possible).
    2)> Increase the so-called film rating ISO speed as outlined above.

    However, both this methods may in fact lead to your pictures being less desireable in that, a loss of depth will result from the first choice and a loss of quality in the second choice. Tripods are the way to go my friend.....
  4. pclemmit

    pclemmit Guest

    Many thanks for these suggestions. I shall be sure to try them.

  5. yojimbo2k

    yojimbo2k Member

    Sep 23, 2004
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    Increase the length of your exposure time where possible (you'll probably need to set the camera on a manual mode). Also increase the aperture size to let in more light. Turn off the flash... that makes things worse. The camera will need to rest on a steady surface.. tripod... wall... whatever. If you can't get a cable release for your camera (allows you to set off a picture without pressing the shutter button on the camera) then experiment with a timer on a short delay - that eliminates camera shake introduced by pressing the shutter release on the camera.

    Changing to a higher numbered ISO speed (a lot of digital cameras can do 50, 100 and 200. Sometimes 400) will allow the camera to absorb more light, but the higher the ISO value, the more noise you end up introducing to your picture.

    Oh and use the LCD when changing these settings - it's usually a very good insication of how bright the picture will be.

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