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Taking Night Shots On The Move - Help For A Novice  
User currently offlineRobK From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 3955 posts, RR: 18
Posted (8 years 6 days ago) and read 8229 times:

Okay, kinda off topic as it's not specifically aviation related but still photography so I'll ask in here rather than non-av.

I work at night and like to take pics. I've got a 5mp Olympus Camedia C-5000 zoom camera. What's the best settings for taking night shots with the camera in my hand? When there's just enough artificial light I find the shots are coming out bright enough, but blurry - presumably because of hand shake. When there's not enough light and I use the flash I find that the flash isn't bright enough to illuminate the subject 20-25ft in front of me and I just get bad flash reflections off, er, reflective things like vehicle license plates etc.

Here are a few random shots to illustrate what I mean :

On the move shot, how do I get the road ahead to appear unblurry?

Static shot, no flash, hand held, grrr

Same shot as above, but camera sat on something solid

Same shot as above, but hand held and using flash

Random building shot. Think I left settings as they were on camera and got this glow effect from the lights, hand held again

Same shot but I vaguely recall dropping the brightness level on the camera and upping or lowering the other figure that you can change (no idea what it is or does). This one has made the glow go spikey, why is that? Looks better than the last one anyway

Would anyone be able to advise where I'm going wrong?    Or is it all a bit too    for you professionals?   



[Edited 2006-10-27 17:39:39]

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTimdegroot From Netherlands, joined Apr 2002, 3674 posts, RR: 64
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 days ago) and read 8227 times:
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Quoting RobK (Thread starter):
On the move shot, how do I get the road ahead to appear unblurry?

Stop moving Smile

Quoting RobK (Thread starter):
Same shot as above, but camera sat on something solid

Good, but the whitebalance needs some work.


Alderman Exit
User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6822 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8198 times:

Quoting RobK (Thread starter):
On the move shot, how do I get the road ahead to appear unblurry?

You can't. It would be difficult in daylight without a short exposure time. If you're going at 70mph, say, that's around 35m/s. In 1/30 sec you've travelled around 1m, in 1/250 sec around 15cm. If you're looking down onto the road it will be blurred close to the vehicle because of the distance travelled during the exposure and the longer the exposure, the further you go.

Best option would probably be to use the manual setting on the camera and experiment. Any bright lights will confuse the exposure meter so try and get the exposure when there aren't any lights in the viewfinder, or try and keep them at the edge.

Any exposure above around 1/8 to 1/4 sec will have to use a tripod or something else solid. With wide angle you may be able to get away with longer exposures handheld because any camera movement will be small compared to the field of view.

The white balance on the camera will probably have to be changed from the normal daylight setting to one of the others.

You should be able to use the fill in flash setting on the camera, so use manual exposure and still use the flash. The flash will brighten things that are close, and the long exposure will stop the background being so dark. Beware moving objects with this technique.... the flash will freeze them, at the start of the exposure.

The glowing and star patterns from the lights will be due to the different aperture used. With a small aperture (F8, F11 or F16) you'll get this sort of effect. If you look at the glow around the lights you'll see that when the aperture's wide open the glow shape is circular whereas in the other photo it's more like a hexagon.

wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8162 times:

Quoting RobK (Thread starter):
Would anyone be able to advise where I'm going wrong?

Your not using a tripod, and you need to buy a brighter flash.

User currently offlineUnattendedBag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2330 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 8129 times:

you have to get and use a tripod, there is no way around that. also, don't shoot into the lights, shoot with the lights.

Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineRobK From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 3955 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8102 times:

Okay, some good tips so far!! Thanks!

User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8046 times:

Unsure of your camera's capabilities but, as others have said you'd be better off sorting out a reliable tripod first of all. Then don't be afraid of trying different exposure times, from say 10 seconds to 30 seconds and picking out the best one for the conditions you're shooting in. Cable release your shots or set the camera to self-timer so you won't have to touch the camera at all. Hope it helps you out.

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