Macair SAAB
Topic Author
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun May 30, 1999 5:35 pm

Taking Photos At Night

Thu Jun 08, 2000 11:32 am

I would like to start and take photos at night, but I'm unsure about it. Does anyone have any info and/or tips? I am using a Nikon F60 camera and Tamron 28-200mm lens, along with a Nissin Auto 300AFZ Thyristor flash.

Thanks in advance!

- Macair SAAB
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2000 10:26 pm

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Thu Jun 08, 2000 10:59 pm

hi there
I've tried it several times and I found that it works out rather nicely if you put the apperture to about 8 and with the time on automatic or manual with about 6-10 secs (depends a bit if you have any lightbeams in the picture) use a tripod and forget the flash.
the best method is, I think, if you take several shots from the same spot with different timings. note them down with the pic-no.s and compare the shots with the timings afterwards
good luck
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 1999 11:08 am

What About Night Time Cockpit Photos?

Fri Jun 09, 2000 4:29 am

I've been wanting to try some night time cockpit photography. The last flight at night I've had in the most recent months was on an ASA room at all to setup a tripod!

Any suggestions for exposure times? Apperture settings? I'm using Fujichrome 100 (slide film). I try to stay away from 200 speed....a good idea or no?

I've got a night time DC-10-40 flight coming up next month, which is probably going to be my last DC-10 flight ever.   I'll get some practice time in before then (I have some AA MD-80/F-100 night flights this month). I definately don't want to screw up this opportunity!

Mark Abbott
Minneapolis, MN
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2000 4:36 am

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Fri Jun 09, 2000 4:55 am

Hi there.

If you want to take night shots of planes I really suggest you to forget the flash. Instead buy a decent tripod which doesn't shake too much. I'm not sure if a cable release can be used with F60 but if it's possible then buy a cable releaser. Another way to photograph without a cable release is to use self timer. Put the timer on and press the shutter, now camera waits about 10s and takes the picture.
When taking night time shots you have to think a little bit different than taking day shots. First of all the camera will use a very long shutter speed, usually 2-15 s. The camera must not move while taking the picture, you have to remember that the plane must not move either, you have to time taking the photo so that there wont go any cars or anything by the plane or the picture may look a little bit funny.

I really see that you have two options in your case:

1. Buy an objective with low f number such as 50/1.8 and fast film (>400ASA) and then you can take pictures without a tripod in plane.


2. Get a flash (only good in cockpit, not so good in cabin)

Helsinki, Finland

Posts: 8
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RE: Taking Photos At Night

Sat Jun 10, 2000 1:33 am

You don't have to use a flash per se, it is possible to take awesome photos at night with a tripod. Just pick a shutter speed and "bracket". Change your f-stop while keeping the shutter speed constant. You can also pick one f-stop (such as f8) and then vary the shutter speed, starting a 1/8 second, 1/4 and so on. Just practice and you will get the hang of it!!!
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 1:04 pm

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Mon Jun 12, 2000 3:04 am

Accept, for some form of sturdy support i.e. a tripod, there are no hard and fast rules for night time photography. It really depends on what type of photo you are trying to create, it you want the light steaks of ground support equipment around a given aircraft, the I suggest a somewhat small f stop, and an expousure time of anywhere from 5 sec-20sec, and sometimes longer.

Check out Granted that this photo is a little dirty, and I also had a roll of Tungsten(indoor)balanced slide film in the camera, but it is a good example of what I'am talking about.

I have asked before, and I'll ask again. How do you upload a photo to this forum ? I may want to post some examples in the future, that Johan may not feel is appropriate for, and get some feedback.

As to flash photography at night, again it all depends on what you are planning to shoot. Most pros i.e. Lawerence Fier will use a slow shutter and flash combination. I have and still use a techinque know as 'flash and blur' some love it and some hate it, since I use it, I love this style. But it does take some practice. I have a wonderful example taken at IAH featuring a wing walker, during a push back. Johan will not post since the plane is not the main subject of this photo. Aside from taking portraits of people and or aircraft, leave the flash at home.

Again, if anyone can give me any info on how to post pics on this forum I would be most apperciative.


"Show me the Braniffs"
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:46 am

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Mon Jun 12, 2000 8:38 am

Photos cannot be directly posted to the forum. If they are not already hosted at they will need to be somewhere on the web, then included by typing in a standard HTML image reference. For example:

<IMG SRC="">

Would embed one of the photos posted at my web site. If you don't have a web site already, you might want to consider a service like Yahoo photos at which will allow you to display photos without having to create an entire web site.
Posts: 1546
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 1999 11:08 am

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Thu Jun 15, 2000 9:59 am

When I say that I'd like to take a shot a night time cockpit photography, I'm not talking about not using a flash. I'm looking to capture the "glow" of the panels... I've got two night flights this weekend on an AA MD-80 and F-100. I guess I'll just play around with different exposure times and keep a log of the settings I use.

I just had a thought a moment ago about films....Most film is balanced for natural light/sunny conditions. Is there film out there that is balanced towards different types of light?

Mark Abbott
Minneapolis, MN
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 1:01 pm

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Thu Jun 15, 2000 11:05 am

You might be referring to a slide film that is "Tungsten balanced", designed for ambient light other than the sun. However, with proper scanning technique you can correct the colors using Photoshop or an advanced version of other imaging programs by setting the "White Point"...
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2000 2:27 am

RE: Taking Photos At Night

Sat Jun 17, 2000 1:37 am

You can use a daylight film at night if you correct the temperature of the artificial light (ususally about 2500 - 3500 Kelvin) with a blue correction filter (correction blue No. 6 or 12) to daylight (5000 - 8000 Kelvin). But this reduces the speed. However - you need a tripod.

Roland Cartarius

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