Beechcraft From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 828 posts, RR: 44 Posted (4 years 1 hour ago) and read 6590 times:
by popular demand, i´d like to add another Masterclass session to what we already have.
Today: Spotting/shooting at night dusk and dawn.
We already have a general Spotting masterclass, but at night things are a bit different.
So, please share your knowledge and your questions. What do you bring for a nightsession? What are the benefits? How do you set your Camera, which tripods are you using, are you using them at all? How do you shoot and where? How do get good panning results? What about postprocessing? Are there special programs you can use for your nightshots (e.g. DXO), what about grain....etc., etc...
Remember, this should be considered a learning environment, there are no stupid questions!
That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
McG1967 From UK - Scotland, joined Apr 2006, 500 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 6537 times:
it would be good if we could have all of the Masterclass threads put into a sub-forum similar to the photogrpahy feedback forum - making them easier to find.
I use a Manfrotto 055 tripod with 488RC Ballhead. 1 tip would be to make sure that your tripod and head can support the weight of your Camera and Lens combination - especially if you have a heavy lens that you will only use occassionally on the tripod.
Remote shutter release - very handy for ensuring that you don't nudge the camera when taking the shot.
IS/VR - check the manufacturer's handbook to see if your lens has an Auto Tripod detect function - else switch the IS/VR to OFF when using on a tripod.
Torch - a small torch, hand held or head torch is handy to have for checking settings and finding equipment in your camera bag.
Live View - if your camera has it, then this can be useful for checking focus ( if focussing manually ) and exposure. Canon cameras with LV allow you to zoom in to either 5x or 10x what is normally displayed on the LCD - allowing for accurate focus to be achieved.
I would like some tips on controlling the star burst effect and lens flare when taking night shots.
A330Fanatic From France, joined Aug 2007, 22 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6460 times:
I'm planning to go to CDG for some night shots. That will be my very first attempt at night spotting.
I also remember having read on this forum about this topic sometime ago. Unfortunately, I just can't find that thread again... Couldn't have access to older threads;(;(
Could some of you who have already taken night shots help me out? All advices will be more than welcome!
I have a 40D & 28-135mm EF & 100-400mm L and a tripod of course
1) What are the "usual" settings? Is Av F8 the "standard"? What about smaller apertures?
2) What about Iso? 100-125 iso seems to be appropriate?
3) IS should be deactivated right?
4) What about the metering mode? I'm usually on "selective mode".
5) How long do I let the shutter open? A friend of mine told me 10 seconds should be fine.
Here are a few questions that come accross my mind so far.
Feel free to fill me in with more info. I'll be very grateful and happy to learn from you guys!
JakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7 Reply 7, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6437 times:
I rarely do night pic's and if I do they're relatively simple static ground shots. I do however do quite a few dawn/dusk/sunrise/sunset shots. I tend to use F8-11, ISO100, -1-2 stop comp. and increased saturation and colour temp. to bring out the warmth. I also try and aim for a fast shutter of at least 1/1000th as my favourite sunset spot doesn't allow for much panning with the subject!
RonS From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 762 posts, RR: 24 Reply 9, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6330 times:
My night shot question is actually related to night photo editing! I think it's applicable on this thread.
I have only recently had success with night shots of static aircraft. It probably took me at least 30-40 attempts of a static aircraft to actually get one accepted. However, I have been discussing green ghost lights with a very helpful screener. Through this conversation I have learned that cloning out the green ghost lighting in the sky is NOT approved. I did not realize this until very recently.
So I have to ask, why is this not approved? To me it is similar to cloning out a dust spot in the sky. My lens (70-200 f/4's, 28-105, 50MM 1.8) all make these ghost lights.
My reason for questioning this is that I find the ghost lighting distracting. For example, see my FedEx shot below, I have a distracting ghost spot in the sky on the upper left side. I left this in, even though it looked alot better cloned out, after having learned the rules.
I only ask because I know we all want our best imaged represented here at Anet and I feel the example above would have looked better cleaned up. Can anybody, screener, veteran, etc offer any guidance? Thanks!
All opinions expressed by me are my own opinions & do not represent the opinions in any way of my employers.
744flyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 62 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6324 times:
I'm more one for long exposures at night (showing a "path" of the plane landing/taking off).
For this, I bring my Nikon D90, 24-7mm lens, tripod, and remote release. I'm usually at around f/8 and over 10 seconds, and due to the long exposure, a low ISO works well, making the picture good quality.
I am interested in getting some pictures of planes on the ground at night, but these are pretty difficult to get at PHL!
Whisperjet From Germany, joined Nov 2007, 561 posts, RR: 8 Reply 11, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6287 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW PHOTO SCREENER
I started writing a basic guide about nightspotting for a friend a while ago and finally found the time to complete it today. Most points mentioned won't be new for many forum members/uploaders but I still think that it might be helpful for beginners. Feedback, comments and suggestions are highly appreciated. We are all profiting from each others knowledge and I'd love to add points to this guide.
I use (like many others here) the Manfrotto 055 PROB together with a 488RC2 ballhead. As mentioned in another thread before, a ballhead is handy when you have to adjust the camera as fats as possible, eg when you are shooting in the small timeframe between pushback and taxi. If you are for some reason limited to shooting parked aircraft I would probably go for a normal head since the adjustments are more precise, especially if you are using a heavy camera/lens combination.
The Manfrotto combination is not cheap but never forget that a decent tripod is a once-in-a-lifetime investment.
Sounds a bit stupid but never extend the tripod to your eyelevel. Even though that might be more convenient to use that way it is certainly not advantageous in windy conditions. I usually keep the camera on approximately 1,40m above the ground which is just enough to shoot over the balustrade at the observation deck at my local airport. I have seen people with fully extended tripods wondering about blurry results...
Use either a remote control or the autotimer. The autotimer is suficient in most cases, but once again, if you have to be fast a remote control is beneficial since you don't have to wait 10 seconds (depending on your camera) before the exposure of the next picture begins.
If you are using a lens with an Image stabilizer or a camera with a built-in image stabilizer make sure that it is turned off. The image stabilizer will destroy your pictures if turned on while shooting with a tripod.
b) choosing a location to shoot from
That is probably the trickiest part about nightspotting. It is possible to use high ISO values to shoot approaching or departing planes at night the photography I am talking about in this posting requires a plane which is not moving at all.
So you can either go for parked aircraft or those which are waiting for taxi clearance (after pushback). In the latter case it is absolutely important to be fast since you will never know when the aircraft starts moving out. If you do not have ramp access it will be hard to find good locations for nightshots. Airports that have a visitor's platform or car parking facilities with ramp view are usually the places to be. Typical locations are Dusseldorf, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Los Angeles.
One big problem at night is that there is (of course) only artificial light available which is usually not evenly spread resulting in brighter and darker areas. For example there can be a lot of light on the nose of an aircraft while the tail is in complete darkness. In that case it is impossible to get a decent picture. There can even be some kind of backlight when an aircraft is illuminated on the wrong side which also makes decent shots almost impossible.
Therefore it is necessary to find the best possible location. It just like shooting against the sun, it is possible to get pictures but you will never get a well exposed picture. Also in some cases it might be helpful to limit yourself on closeups or front views instead of photographing the whole plane.
Shooting in darkness is a lot different from daylight photography. For nightspotting I use the following settings (on a Canon 40D):
f 8 (Variable, on windy days I would rather go for a bigger aperture to keep the exposure time shorter)
exposure time: (auto)
exposure correction: My camera tends to underexpose nightshots when using the Av mode, that's why I have set the exposure correction to +2/3.
ISO: 100, but again, if there is a lot of wind better got for a higher ISO value to avoid blur.
Always shoot in RAW: I am not a big fan of RAW because I do not like those giant files but since it is the only possibility that allows the photographer to correct the white balance in the post processing you should definitely go for it.
White Balance: Some people try to adjust the white balance in the camera, I prefer doing that in photoshop. That is why I have set the white balance to auto.
Some cameras have a mirror-lock mechanism. If you have a remote control I would enable this feature: The mirror opens when you press the release first, when you press it for the second time the shutter opens and the exposure begins. This feature helps avoiding shaking which might be caused by the mirror.
Although it might be tempting, never zoom in completely. I have seen many pictures with a too tight crop without any room around the plane that could be used for levelling.
Many lenses/cameras have problems to focus in darkness. If the autofocus does not work I usually make use of the life view mode which is the best solution for the problem I have found so far.
Modern pushback trucks lift the plane during pushback. Therefore it is necessary to wait until the plane had been lowered again before you start the exposure.
Sometimes a plane is parked in complete darkness. It is still possible to photograph it these conditions. Use the M mode of you camera and set the exposure time to “bulb” (Canon). You have to press the button (of a remote control) to start the exposure and release it when you think that enough time has passed. It is not easy to find the necessary exposure time, it is trail and error + some experience.
It is possible to take night photos through glass. You just have to make sure that the room between the lens and glass is completely dark. Use a jacket or similar avoid rays from reaching the lens.
When you are shooting in windy conditions it is helpful to remove the hood from your lens.
For postprocessing I use the RAW plugin for Adobe Photoshop CS 3. The editing steps are almost the same in other software if you do not have the PS. A brief explanation with some screenshots:
a) A screenshot of the picture as it is, right out of the camera. As you can see the colors are completely wrong (too warm) and it is a tad underexposed.
b) The picture opened in the Adobe Camera RAW Plugin:
c) Use the pipette tool (marked in green) and click in an area in your picture that should be either white or black. It is not important to get the white balance spot on right now, I only do so to be able to adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation more easily. The fine adjustment can be done later.
d) Now use the controls on the right to adjust exposure/contrast/Saturation etc. The values are depending on the picture, I noticed that most of my nightshots need a lot of contrast. Now you can also finetune the white balance. If you click in different areas of the picture with the pipette-tool you will see that the color temperature changes. If you are satisfied with the results (remember that finetuning can be done in the “normal” photoshop) you can finish the raw processing and open the file for normal editing (level, crop, curves, etc).
There is of course no right or wrong, I personally prefer rather bright and white nightshots while others prefer them a bit darker or a bit more yellow. It is not easy to get them right but after some time you will know what values you have to set.
The Lufthansa livery is rather easy to edit it because the main colors are white and grey. It is much more difficult to edit planes that are very colorful, especially those that are either red or yellow. In that case you will have to work on the different colors seperately. I will add some screeneshots later if needed.
I hoped this guide was useful, feedback is highly appreciated.
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6081 posts, RR: 40 Reply 12, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6257 times:
Quoting Whisperjet (Reply 11): Use the pipette tool (marked in green) and click in an area in your picture that should be either white or black. It is not important to get the white balance spot on right now, I only do so to be able to adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation more easily. The fine adjustment can be done later.
Wow, great tool! Good for general use and I don't know how I didn't come across it earlier! Thanks!
I'm disappointed that my home airport (AKL) has no open area where such photography (especially still) can really be taken from.
Clickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9549 posts, RR: 70 Reply 13, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6257 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW PHOTO SCREENER
Quoting Whisperjet (Reply 11): It is much more difficult to edit planes that are very colorful, especially those that are either red or yellow. In that case you will have to work on the different colors seperately. I will add some screeneshots later if needed.
Or, you can learn how to use the white balance feature of your camera. I would urge anyone interested in photography to learn how to properly expose a photo, instead of relying on a computer.
Jspitfire From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 308 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6205 times:
Some good information here.
I have a manfrotto tripod with the ballhead (couldn't tell you what model number) and it works great even in temps of -40!
I usually have ramp access when taking my night shots, and I would agree that figuring out where your light sources are and positioning yourself accordingly is the most important part of setting up a good shot. And when I don't like the light source or don't have one, I use a flashlight or the flash to "paint" the aircraft, unless the aircraft start getting too big of course.
My night shots present a unique problem in that I like to try and get the northern lights in my shots. As aircraft are usually parked under bright lights, it can be almost impossible at times to balance between a properly exposed aircraft and being able to see the aurora.
When I do find a situation that works (aircraft parked in a dark corner,) I often have to use at least ISO 400 and F/4 to properly expose the aurora and get the stars showing up as well.
Quoting Whisperjet (Reply 11): It is much more difficult to edit planes that are very colorful, especially those that are either red or yellow. In that case you will have to work on the different colors separately. I will add some screeneshots later if needed.
I would be interested in learning more about adjusting different colours separately, as this is another problem with shooting the aurora. If I change the white balance to match the aircraft, it throws off the colour of the auroras.
Silver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4655 posts, RR: 27 Reply 15, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6183 times:
Quoting Whisperjet (Reply 11): A screenshot of the picture as it is, right out of the camera. As you can see the colors are completely wrong (too warm) and it is a tad underexposed.
Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 13): Or, you can learn how to use the white balance feature of your camera. I would urge anyone interested in photography to learn how to properly expose a photo, instead of relying on a computer.
Quoting Jspitfire (Reply 14): I would be interested in learning more about adjusting different colours separately, as this is another problem with shooting the aurora. If I change the white balance to match the aircraft, it throws off the colour of the auroras.
I think we need a Masterclass thread devoted to color and color management. Getting colors right absolutely drives me nuts! Which is funny because I don't think I have ever received a color rejection. lol
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
A330Fanatic From France, joined Aug 2007, 22 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 6160 times:
Thank you so much Whisperjet for this great and helpful feedback! I guess, only time and lots of pratice will give satisfying results in the long run. However, knowing the basics is a first step which I'm happy to have learnt from you. So you definitely recommend shooting in RAW?
To be honest, I've always been shooting in Jpeg since I first started with digital...
But hey, if that's the way to go, I'll take the path!
Whisperjet From Germany, joined Nov 2007, 561 posts, RR: 8 Reply 18, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6140 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW PHOTO SCREENER
Quoting Javibi (Reply 17): I might be wrong, but AFAIK for best results you should click in a neutral area of the picture.
Correct, but that never worked for me. When I clicked in a black or white area the result was much closer to what I think it should be like than using a neutral area. I usually try a lot of areas until the result looks acceptable to me.
Zbot69 From Hong Kong, joined May 2009, 152 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days ago) and read 6125 times:
Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 15): I think we need a Masterclass thread devoted to color and color management. Getting colors right absolutely drives me nuts! Which is funny because I don't think I have ever received a color rejection. lol
I would like to second the motion. Fiddling with colors and finding the proper adjustments is a real nightmare, especially when different monitors show colors differently.
And on night photography... I try to find nights that are cloudless, and have moon light. I've found that, especially around airports at night, a lot of ambient light bounces back off of clouds and detroys shots. Particularly in a place like Hong Kong where the skies are almost permanently embedded with who-knows-what kind of industrial pollutants.
And I prefer shooting around twilight to maximize the effects of setting sunlight. In short... I've found it not much worth my time to pack up all the gear on any random night and hope to take decent night time shots. Night time photography is challenging enough as it is. I prefer to stack the elements in my favor when I do make the effort.
Dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Reply 20, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6100 times:
Quoting RonS (Reply 9): So I have to ask, why is this not approved? To me it is similar to cloning out a dust spot in the sky. My lens (70-200 f/4's, 28-105, 50MM 1.8) all make these ghost lights.
do you use UV filters on your lenses? If so, remove them.
Quoting Whisperjet (Reply 18): Correct, but that never worked for me. When I clicked in a black or white area the result was much closer to what I think it should be like than using a neutral area. I usually try a lot of areas until the result looks acceptable to me.
It depends on the logic of the white balance clicker. Adobe's WB clicker expects an 18% gray neutral. If you have a color checker, gray card, etc. this is what you'd click it on. Many gray paints are not truly neutral grays, they are in fact warm or cool grays. This affects the balance done by the clicker. The one in the LH scheme is a fairly cool gray, for instance. A gray card or XRite colorchecker is the best idea for a test frame so you can get a good point of reference.
The only times I've had to shoot night shots were for static private jets, and I have an Xrite balance card (gray, white, black stripes) to give me a reference point.
The problem is that a lot of airport lights are these sodium vapor lights that don't really produce color all that well, so balancing for them is a tricky act because you're creating a bit of a facsimile of "white light." There's a lot of spectrum missing from these, so colors might look a little weird or off even if you've gotten the white balance correct.