Night photography help

ThePilgrim

Well-Known Member
Hello All
Just started taking my DSLR seriously and been trying few things with it. On a recent ride to Prashar Lake, on a full moon night, took a night shot of the lake. Though it was full moon night, the lake was hardly visible to naked eye due to shadow of mountains around it.

There was no light source there to use for auto-focus so I switched to manual focus. I tried about 15 shots at different positions of focus ring, until I found the position which seemed best to me.
But final result is much below my expectation so am sure that there could have been lot better settings that could have been used.

Attached below is the shot that is being talked about, please have a look and suggest me what else I could have done to get better result. I am attaching the original image, hence, you can check the EXIF settings.
EXIF settings for quick ref: f/4.5 30s ISO-100.

Suggestions and assistance to better learn night photography using this image as example will be highly appreciated.

IMG_8848.JPG
 

Pavan Singh

Chak De Fatte!!
Problem: The image is out of focus.
Fix: Increase the f number to increase depth in the field. For example, set it to f 22 and let the camera decide the shutter speed.

Problem: Image is dark
Fix: If in aperture mode and aperture set to F 22, your camera should increase the shutter speed in minutes. This will allow more light to come in and image should be more bright. 30 seconds is not enough to capture light in such situation.

Most important: Do not trust my recommendations. Try again and again with different settings to get the best results, keeping in mind that high F number will provide depth in field and longer the shutter is open for, more light will come in making the image brighter.
 

Ankur003

UltraWideLife.com
The is no exif data in this image .

Problems with the image--

Out of focus:
Learn how to focus to infinity in night, using manual focus. The simplest way is to focus to infinity in daytime and use a permanent marker to ink the focus ring location.
Use live view to focus at night if your camera supports.
Alternatively use a distant, street light or bulb to set focus to infinity (if available)

Low ISO:
Its good to use base ISO of the camera but in situations like this, going to 800 even 1600 wouldn't hurt much. Please try different settings of ISO on your camera and check results.

Shutter Speed:
I assume you used 30 secs exposure as you didn't want starts to start trailing. remember the rule of 500. The maximum exposure time for stars to not trails is approx 500/focal length. For example you are shooting at 18mm. maximum exposure time should be 500/18=28 secs

Aperture:
I don't agree to @Pavan Singh opinion to change the aperture to f/22 and let camera decide. This is a already a night shot, under very low light conditions. Use a wide aperture. f/4.5 in this case was good enough setting.
I will not recommend to go beyond f/8 - f/13 as a general rule for landscapes in day light. Even getting these setting may be very difficult at night.
 

ThePilgrim

Well-Known Member
@ThePilgrim is it a B&W pic?
The is no exif data in this image .

Problems with the image--

Out of focus:
Learn how to focus to infinity in night, using manual focus. The simplest way is to focus to infinity in daytime and use a permanent marker to ink the focus ring location.
Use live view to focus at night if your camera supports.
Alternatively use a distant, street light or bulb to set focus to infinity (if available)

Low ISO:
Its good to use base ISO of the camera but in situations like this, going to 800 even 1600 wouldn't hurt much. Please try different settings of ISO on your camera and check results.

Shutter Speed:
I assume you used 30 secs exposure as you didn't want starts to start trailing. remember the rule of 500. The maximum exposure time for stars to not trails is approx 500/focal length. For example you are shooting at 18mm. maximum exposure time should be 500/18=28 secs

Aperture:
I don't agree to @Pavan Singh opinion to change the aperture to f/22 and let camera decide. This is a already a night shot, under very low light conditions. Use a wide aperture. f/4.5 in this case was good enough setting.
I will not recommend to go beyond f/8 - f/13 as a general rule for landscapes in day light. Even getting these setting may be very difficult at night.
Thanks a lot @Ankur003 for your response.
A quick question - why to focus at infinity? I thought infinity focus is to be used when we are only focusing on remote objects like stars/moon etc.
Any more info on when to focus at infinity will be very helpful.
Thanks again for your time.
 

Roadie..

Super User
The is no exif data in this image .

Problems with the image--

Out of focus:
Learn how to focus to infinity in night, using manual focus. The simplest way is to focus to infinity in daytime and use a permanent marker to ink the focus ring location.
Use live view to focus at night if your camera supports.
Alternatively use a distant, street light or bulb to set focus to infinity (if available)

Low ISO:
Its good to use base ISO of the camera but in situations like this, going to 800 even 1600 wouldn't hurt much. Please try different settings of ISO on your camera and check results.

Shutter Speed:
I assume you used 30 secs exposure as you didn't want starts to start trailing. remember the rule of 500. The maximum exposure time for stars to not trails is approx 500/focal length. For example you are shooting at 18mm. maximum exposure time should be 500/18=28 secs

Aperture:
I don't agree to @Pavan Singh opinion to change the aperture to f/22 and let camera decide. This is a already a night shot, under very low light conditions. Use a wide aperture. f/4.5 in this case was good enough setting.
I will not recommend to go beyond f/8 - f/13 as a general rule for landscapes in day light. Even getting these setting may be very difficult at night.
Ankur the 28 sec i.e. 500/18 is for full frame
We get 500/27 aprox 18-19 seconds in crop sensor
 

amitw79

Super User
My first reaction was low iso and out of focus are the main problems with the image. I thought 30s shutter speed was fine...The learning continues for me as well :)

What lens and camera was used to capture the image?
 

Ankur003

UltraWideLife.com
Thanks a lot @Ankur003 for your response.
A quick question - why to focus at infinity? I thought infinity focus is to be used when we are only focusing on remote objects like stars/moon etc.
Any more info on when to focus at infinity will be very helpful.
Thanks again for your time.
This link answers all your questions.
http://www.school-of-digital-photography.com/2013/11/infinity-focusing-what-is-it-how-does-it-work-how-to-manually-set-a-lens-without-a-distance-scale-to-focus-on-infinity.html
 
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