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  1. #1

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    Night photography tips

    I need some. I've never done it and dont know anything about how to meter accurately for it. I'm assuming my om1 meter wont be able to do it accurately for long exposures...

    any help would be grand.

  2. #2

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    A good tripod and cable release. The OM-1 has a very good meter. Experiment and bracket. You'll learn by doing where to expose. Down the road you may think about getting a spotmeter.

    A meter compares everything to 18% gray, so you have to think about what is in your scene that you want to be your middle value.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

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  3. #3
    Andy K's Avatar
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    The OM-1 is ideal for night photography as it has mirror lock up.

    For more on night photography a great book is Andrew Sanderson's Night Photography. ISBN 1 902538 12 9


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  4. #4

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    You are right, the meter will try to expose as if it would see a daylight scene. At the end your photo will be overexposed.
    The best thing for night scenes is a spot meter and some knowledge about the so-called schwarzschild effect (and how to compensate for it).
    Try to learn about how to decrease the contrast of the film you are going to use. It will help you to get more overal detail when light sources are visible.

    If you concentrate on non-luminescent objects with no visible light sources in your photo, your cameras meter and a grey card will do it perfectly for B&W. But in this case you will have trouble to transport the typical *night* feeling into your photo.


    It will cost you some practice; yesterday I took a walk at night, shot ONE photo and made "everything" wrong
    My only concrete tip for you is: start with B&W!

  5. #5
    Vincent Brady's Avatar
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    I would agree with Andy's choice of book , its ideal for someone starting out in the dark.

    Cheers
    TEX

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K View Post
    The OM-1 is ideal for night photography as it has mirror lock up.
    I don't think that having mirror lock up is important at all when exposures get to be longer than 1 second or so.
    The time the camera might shake due to the moving mirror is very short in proportion to the duration of the exposure.


    The OM 1 would not be my first choice, unless you have a good sensitive meter. The one in the OM 1 isn't that good when light levels drop.
    The OM 2, however, is great. Even though it will not show how long an exposure will be in the viewfinder, it will keep the shutter open, meassuring as it goes along.

    It is, of course, correct that a meter will give a reading that when used produces a scene that looks like it is day.
    But meters do not know about the Schwarzschild effect, and following what they say usually produces the desired result.

  7. #7
    Andy K's Avatar
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    People keep talking about metering. I don't use a meter at all for night photography. There is no point even considering how good a camera meter is at night unless you're going to use flash, and in my opinion, night shots where flash was used lose any natural look. All my shots are exposures of well over thirty seconds, using HP5+ film and an aperture of F11 to F16.

    And yes QG, mirror lock up does make a difference, especially when there are light sources in the frame and you are using 35mm. When I make night photographs I rarely use 35mm, and if I do I use a rangefinder or my OM-1. Mostly I use an old 6x6 folding camera, an Agfa Isolette I. It is a nice simple camera and is ideal for the kind of night shots I like to do. I could use my Bronica, but it is too much camera for long exposure night shots.
    Last edited by Andy K; 07-30-2009 at 03:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.


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  8. #8
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K View Post
    People keep talking about metering. I don't use a meter at all for night photography. There is no point even considering how good a camera meter is at night unless you're going to use flash, and in my opinion, night shots where flash was used lose any natural look. All my shots are exposures of well over thirty seconds, using HP5+ film and an aperture of F11 to F16.
    I do not use a meter either. I have had exceeding good night photography results using "The New Jiffy Calculator".

    Here are three links:
    Link 1) http://www.stacken.kth.se/~maxz/files/jiffy.pdf
    Link 2) http://klep.name/programming/expocalc/
    Link 3) http://www.scribd.com/doc/2604955/jiffy

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  9. #9

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    For night work I do not bother with a meter. I would suggest you pick an aperture (say 5.6 to 8) and bracket with differing shutter speeds until you have established some fairly repeatable ballparl exposures. I suggest varying shuuter speeds rather that f. stops as beyond the density/contrast of the negative, longer and shorter shutter openings will allow you to explore cloud movement in the sky.

    I tend to pull my standard development by 15/20% to manage the highlights, or more frequently now, use semi-stand development. Many people get great night results with Pyro.

    I would also read Andrew Sanderson's book - it is excellent!

    Ciaran

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K View Post
    People keep talking about metering. I don't use a meter at all for night photography. There is no point even considering how good a camera meter is at night unless you're going to use flash....
    Okay but some of us shoot colour film at night, slide even! I use a handheld meter and reciprocity chart when shooting slide (preferably T64).

    ~~~

    Also, one must bear in mind the skill level of the person who is asking the question. For a newcomer to night photography (and daytime too, for that matter), nothing is learned by winging it without a meter. For the rest of us, yeah fine, we can pretty much guesstimate the exposure, but I assume this question was asked because the O.P. isn't yet a guesstimator!

    ~~~

    Many of the night scenes I like have huge amounts of range because you have point-like light sources and deep shadows. For this reason, I recently started experimenting with POTA developer, with very satisfying initial results. POTA is a superduper-compensating developer; it is a bit of a pain because it is one shot and has a short life span (only an hour or so!) but there are plenty of other easier ways to get some compensation from other developers.

    ~~~

    Regarding MLU (here we go yet again).... sure it matters, in some situations. If the exposure is very long then MLU won't matter one iota. Likewise if the exposure is very short. But for everything in between, it definitely matters. I mean, the assertion that it doesn't matter is tantamount to saying that some MLU myth was created by the camera companies... competing camera companies. Anyway, how much MLU matters depends very much on a host of other things, beside shutter speed: (1) the damping mechanism in the camera (I believe that my F100's damping is superb, really superb, but because it has no MLU I can't really say whether it'd be better with MLU at 1/30 etc.); (2) the mass of the camera, and (2b) the coupling between camera and tripod which also affects the effective mass of the coupled system. If the coupling isn't good then (depending somewhat on the orientation of the camera) you can have an oscillator and the image quality will definitely suffer. Anyway let's not let this [frequently recurring] MLU thing derail a thread.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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