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NightLightingFX
08-28-2007, 11:17 AM
Here is a job I did last week. As you can see the 3 up-lights on the garage look too bright. In real life they don't have hot spots. I have an a non-professional camera that doesn't have raw format and all the jazz. It is an Olympus-Stylus 500. I have spent some time to find out how all the applications work. From my experimentation only three function aid me in night photography. What seem to work are: 1) Scene setting to night time
2)Exposure compensation there are 13 levels - (+2, +1.7, +1.3, +1, +0.7, +0.3, 0, -0.3, -0.7, -1, -1.3, -1.7, -2)-I always have it on -2; 3)White balance-I just discovered this function last night it is pretty cool you can change the shade of color in the photo I will use this function more in the future. I tried the other functions they don't seem to help. Is there any way I can take a photo of this job without the hot spots on the garage? Other functions I have are: AF Mode that shoudn't help with anything; Metering-I can't figure that one out "ESP"?; ISO Sensitivity-this functions seems like it should help but I didn't see a real difference; Histogram-????? This fall I am taking a Photography class at the local community college. Some day I will get this photo thing figured out.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

JoeyD
08-28-2007, 11:27 AM
Here is a job I did last week. As you can see the 3 up-lights on the garage look too bright. In real life they don't have hot spots. I have an a non-professional camera that doesn't have raw format and all the jazz. It is an Olympus-Stylus 500. I have spent some time to find out how all the applications work. From my experimentation only three function aid me in night photography. What seem to work are: 1) Scene setting to night time
2)Exposure compensation there are 13 levels - (+2, +1.7, +1.3, +1, +0.7, +0.3, 0, -0.3, -0.7, -1, -1.3, -1.7, -2)-I always have it on -2; 3)White balance-I just discovered this function last night it is pretty cool you can change the shade of color in the photo I will use this function more in the future. I tried the other functions they don't seem to help. Is there any way I can take a photo of this job without the hot spots on the garage? Other functions I have are: AF Mode that shoudn't help with anything; Metering-I can't figure that one out "ESP"?; ISO Sensitivity-this functions seems like it should help but I didn't see a real difference; Histogram-????? This fall I am taking a Photography class at the local community college. Some day I will get this photo thing figured out.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

Ned-
Send me the photo and i can touch it up for you. My creative director can tone it down on his computer.

Pro-Scapes
08-28-2007, 01:12 PM
lil off topic ... how did you get the wires in and what light did you use on the garage area.

On the cam note... I didnt spend a fortune on my cam but its alot better than the point and shoot. At this point its definatly more me than the cam.

Also looks like you took the shot a bit late. Try going a bit earlier. Read steve parrots article on the cast website.

NightLightingFX
08-28-2007, 02:00 PM
Billy,
Regarding how I got the wires positioned. On the garage on the ground there was a space under the wall and the driveway concrete I was able to hide the wires at. At the garage door opening I ran the wires in the expansion joint. I chipped out some the asphalt cardboard stuff then laid wires in sealed it with this silicon type substance that works on all surfaces asphalt plastic etc. don't know the name off hand. Then brushed the asphalt chipped stuff back over the expansion joint - looks the same as before. The fixtures under the eaves I used screws and zip ties to secure the wire as close to the lip of the end of the eave as possible. The down light fixtures are "Clarolux." The up light on the garage are from "Lightcraft" out of Chatsworth CA. I am sure some of you my criticize me for using them. They have some decent stuff but also cheap stuff. If you buy from them you have to monitor every order. They screw-up a lot. However, they always make it up to me. Obviously the reason why I use them is based on cost, not to mention they try their best to take care of me. I really like Clarolux HOWEVER, FYI I just found a flaw in their Venice fixture which were my down lights. The sockets in the fixture are actually secured to the lead by screws. I was getting a short out on the the roof system of this house I figured out that the spring in the fixture that help keep the lamp close to the end of the fixture made contact with the screws and was shorting out my system. Thank God my trouble shooting narrowed down where the problem was coming from without too much work and the the fixture was around back where I had easy access. If it would have been in the front, That would have been a real pain in the A$$. I personally feel time of day is a debatable issue regarding photos. From what experience I do have I know taking the photo earlier would have still had hot spots. I have corrosponded with Tom Williams on this topic also he insist it is not the camera's fault but the designers. I am going to go out and try some more positioning and wattage and lens combinations and then see what the camera picks up.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

NightLightingFX
08-28-2007, 02:08 PM
Oh yah, I forgot,
This was the job I used the "Sidewalk" sleever to go under the sidewalk. The rocks and gravel made it a real *****.
~Ned
www.nigthlightingfx.com

Pro-Scapes
08-28-2007, 03:37 PM
Ned.. I am familiar with clarolux and my experience with them is far from acceptable. I used 3 of thier path lights on a job where the client had done some research and requested these specifically. I talked them into subbing the Kichler bullets in place of the claro bullets.

If they screw up orders and you gotta watch em then trouble shoot new lights they really are not saving you money like you think they are. I urge you to check out the copper knights from unique for your uplights. About the same cost but zero issues. Also Kichler has some choices that are even less expensive than what you used and are a fair quality light.

The lowest cost light isnt always the cheapest.

Thanks for the info on the wiring. I have one similar to this scenario soon but we will be able to pre wire before the drive is poured and recess in some kim vaults or unique novas.

klkanders
08-28-2007, 04:10 PM
Billy, I have a Clarolux Gardenia sample path light. Which did you install and why dont you like them or what problems did you have with them?

NightLightingFX
08-28-2007, 05:58 PM
Billy,
For the record. Clarolux has been great, I really haven't had any problems with orders or products until that little insident. Personally I like Clarolux's bullet-Venice a lot better than the Unique's Copper Knights. It is Lightcraft that will drive you crazy with screw-ups. Like I said Lightcraft has tried hard to make-up for their screw-ups. There is no doubt you get what you pay for. It has evolved that there are certain fixtures of Lightcraft I use, Clarolux, Garden Light, and Unique through Terradek. Terradek is my main distributor so what ever I can't get etc from the just mention resources I get from Terradek. I get all my transformers now from Terradek. Billy I totally know what you are saying. I am experimenting with different resources. My experience is telling me exacually what you are telling me.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

klkanders
08-28-2007, 07:26 PM
Ned, Terradek is my main distributor also. I have been calling so often lately I'm sure they are almost sick of me. Great bunch of people there. On the other hand I have made some purchases from Clarolux too just misc items. I think Lindsay with that sweet accent could sell ice to an eskimo!

NiteTymeIlluminations
08-28-2007, 08:05 PM
do you have the number...I want to hear this!

Pro-Scapes
08-29-2007, 08:31 AM
they did make it right and sent me complete new stems at no charge.

Not sure if she sent me a venice bullet as a sample but i did notice the lens sat under a bezel with a gasket and snap ring to hold it in place. Looked like a water and dirt collection device to me on top. Never have used thier bullets and I been sticking with Kichler and Cast from fold and will be using Hadco BL1-OB on a Job soon and Unique copper or brass on another.

Thier path did look attactive after it was installed but
1 its supported by glass
2 its just a slip on top (slides over a rubber gasket on the glass)
3 its not really cheaper than the unique copper paths but considerably cheaper than the kichlers

They originally sent me a stake pole with no mounting stake that had 2 ft leads. Resent me the right stakes. I couldnt talk the client into springing the extra 100 to upgrade the 3 lights to the kichlers or talk them into an even swap with the uniques... they wanted THAT LIGHT.

Also when they shipped it they just tossed the bulbs in the bottom of the box and 2 were crushed.

Lindsay did make it right tho. I just feel there are far better values out there for the money.

NightLightingFX
08-30-2007, 12:05 PM
OK, I learned a little more about my camera. I figured out that I can get a different shade color of light in my picture. The color feature doesn't eliminate glare. However I angled the fixtures 2 notches away from the house. It has minimized the glare to where I can live with it, as a picture I don't mind showing it. :clapping: It is easy to do, but I think I am going to avoid blaming the camera for glare problems :nono: and looking more closly at my work as an artistic lighting professional. It seems like the camera can detect minor flaws. Here is 3 pics all the same only with different light color.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

JoeyD
08-30-2007, 12:35 PM
OK, I learned a little more about my camera. I figured out that I can get a different shade color of light in my picture. The color feature doesn't eliminate glare. However I angled the fixtures 2 notches away from the house. It has minimized the glare to where I can live with it, as a picture I don't mind showing it. :clapping: It is easy to do, but I think I am going to avoid blaming the camera for glare problems :nono: and looking more closly at my work as an artistic lighting professional. It seems like the camera can detect minor flaws. Here is 3 pics all the same only with different light color.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

I like the second one

Chris J
08-30-2007, 06:27 PM
Yuck! I like #1

TXNSLighting
08-31-2007, 08:49 AM
First one definately.

ar-t
08-31-2007, 09:16 AM
1 is nice and warm............might make for a nice photo (in some magazine), but is it what it really looks like?

2......yuck!..............

3, while probably too sterile for non-technical types, it is probably the most accurate representation of what the job really looks like.

I'm a technical type. I would use 3.

Nerds.....what are you going to do with us?

Pro-Scapes
08-31-2007, 10:07 AM
I think #3looks more elegant... clearly shows where you have lit. Colors are more in line with what is reality as well.

Much better!

JoeyD
08-31-2007, 10:10 AM
I'm sticking with 2, I dont care what you guys say.....................hmmm

I sound like my 3 yr old daughter.....

NightLightingFX
08-31-2007, 11:43 AM
Interesting response guys,
#1 is the color it looks like in real life. I personally prefer this one also. It is funny how there is such a wide variety of oppinions on the results of the different colors. I am amazed that some oppinions like #2 and #3. I think they are yuk! also. This "light color" application is a feature to consider in photo taking. Now that I have discovered this feature I have also noticed that certain photos don't truely show the real color of the subjects. Now I can scroll through to find the color that truley reflects what the lighting portrait really looks like.:clapping:
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

ar-t
08-31-2007, 12:01 PM
Well, you have the obvious advantage of knowing. We just had to guess. I'll yield to your choice.

NightLightingFX
08-31-2007, 12:34 PM
I appreciate the input
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

Lighting_man
09-04-2007, 04:25 AM
Composition wise you did take the photo too late in the day to get the best results.

You can try taking a couple of pictures, one with a longer exposure than the other and blend them in Photoshop but you'll need time (something we all don't tend to have too much of,) and a tripod.

You cold buy a budget Digital SLR and use graduated filters - darker at the top _ to take some of the brightness out of the sky.

Or stick with what you have and get closer to the subject. A major part of the problem is the rudimentary (or course) sensor on your existing camera. By coming closer your reduce the high contrast between dark and light subject matters and the sensor gets a better representation of what you want to record.

If it is any comfort I know some really good lighting designers who do not have one decent photograph of their work!

Lighting_man

Lighting_man
09-04-2007, 04:26 AM
Sorry I meant coarse not course!

Lighting_man

NightLightingFX
09-04-2007, 11:12 AM
Lighting Man,
Thanks for your input. What are graduated filters? How would I be able to get any closer? The subject is filling the whole picture. I don't have photo shop so blending the pictures isn't possible yet.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

Lighting_man
09-04-2007, 11:38 AM
Graduated filters are pieces of glass that are darker at one side and clearer toward the edge - rather like a anti-dazzle strip on a sun visor. You position the darker part of the glass over the area that is too bright - normally the sky and hence the rest of the shot looks brighter. You will need a SLR camera to do this!

Architectural photography is not always about ensuring you have all the subject matter in the shot. Often picking out parts of your project and taking closer pictures can be more useful when explaining lighting techniques to your prospective customers and can be a lot more pleasing to the eye.

Of course it can help if you are able to dress the inside of the house and have free rein to position lighting inside to flood inside to out through the windows.

Lighting_man

JoeyD
09-05-2007, 01:21 PM
http://www.uniquelighting.com/photos/PhotoContest.pdf

Click this link and go to page 2 in the PDF. You will see the advice we give as to how we take our photos as well as the cameras and acceries we use. After posting this info in our AOLP forum I felt I should include all of you in on the good info. Check it out. Let me know if you all haev any questions.

steveparrott
09-05-2007, 02:26 PM
Joey,

While the recommendations in the article you site are good for beginners, there's a world of truly excellent nighttime photos waiting for those who take the next step with a better digital camera using manual exposures and PhotoShop.

I've been refining my technique over the past five years and can now shoot well past sunset. I've even shot up to 5 houses in a single night.

There are several keys for excellent photos:

1. High quality SLR digital camera that can be easily adjusted in the dark, a sturdy tripod and a bubble level on the camera.
2. Shooting in RAW format
3. Using manual settings (long exposures, high f-stops, low ASA/ISO)
4. Bracketing plus and minus 2 to 3 stops.
5. Using PhotoShop to combine bracketed shots - selecting correct exposure from different layers to produce a near-perfect final print.
6. Using PhotoShop to adjust color and exposure and to retouch flaws.

While this may sound daunting to some, it can be easily learned by many.

JoeyD
09-05-2007, 03:34 PM
I by no means am a photographer so I could not offer more than what was on that form. Although I can tell you that you guys have seen some of the photos I have taken here, more recently the Orion fixtures illuminating under the bar, those shots were done with a tri-pod and the Nikon 5700 set on Night L/S Scene. Of course you could get better but they aren't all that bad. I think it is awesome and i cannot wait to learn and here more on this subject, but lets not scare those guys off who dont yet have the experince some of you do with photo taking.

This is a great topic, lets keep it rolling with more examples and advice.

Below is a picture of Stone Brewery, I featured this job in our latest newsletter. All of these photos were taken using the Nikon 5700 on a tri pod at twighlight. Not the BEST but definitly not the worst. This job was a MONSTER, over 400 low voltage lights. The photos do not do it justice.

NightScenes
09-05-2007, 04:08 PM
Joey, I hate to say this but that is just toooooo much lighting. Pretty nice photo though.

JoeyD
09-05-2007, 04:17 PM
Joey, I hate to say this but that is just toooooo much lighting. Pretty nice photo though.


Like I said the photo does not do the job justince. This job is a monster and remember this is not a residential setting. This is a major outdoor bar so they needed a lot of lighting and wanted more!! When you come out to see me I will take you there, you will be floored.....they also have a beer there named just for you called Arrogant Bastard.....LOL....Just Kidding I LOVE YOU MAN!!! That really is the name of the beer though!! They say it is not for you yellow beer drinkin' wussies!!! Pretty cool!

NightScenes
09-05-2007, 04:52 PM
I will see you next month my friend!!

JoeyD
09-05-2007, 04:56 PM
WOOHOOO........I am looking forward to it!! Hopefully Chris J is going to be able to make it as well. We will have a pretty good group of guys from all corners of the country so there should be some really good dinner discussions and ideas floating around!! I really look forward to seeing you again Paul!! Let me know if you have any questions!

Joey D.

Lighting_man
09-05-2007, 08:12 PM
When this tread started the poor guy only wanted to know why he was getting dodgy results from his point and shoot digital camera.

It's fair to say if you want better pictures either get a digital SLR camera. Or, if you want better point and shoot images, read very closely the instruction manual that came with the camera, use a dusk, or twilight setting and don't take you're pictures too late at night.

Aside from the pictures, this man is spot on with his lighting layout. So give him a break.

And I'm sorry if this rubs salt into the wound but the image from above of the bar area looked OK (if not a little synthetic) but only the lighting designer is going to take a picture in that position. If you're promoting your skillls to a client an image of what a regular punters eye would capture is of more use. In so far as I've a 7mm super wide lens for my camera (bought in NYC when we were getting 2 dollars to a pound) but I don't use it to capture an entire project in one image.

Anyway - I LOVE THE FACT THAT YOU YANKS ARE SO PRO LIGHTING DESIGN - It's almost reason enough to move out of blighty!

Lighting_man

JoeyD
09-06-2007, 09:45 AM
OK so maybe the bar photo wasn't a good enough photo but can you argue with this one?? This picture was taken the same way with the same camera.

Lighting_man
09-06-2007, 10:58 AM
Excellent - No I really like this.


Lighting_man

NightLightingFX
09-06-2007, 10:07 PM
Photo Geeks,
One of these days I will be a Photo Geek. I am taking a college class in photography, and I would love to up grade my photo equipment. It seems like different lens could really help a lot, and being able to use photo shop software to touch-up photos would be real nice. However, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. I am still struggling to get my business off the ground. So I am going to have to manage with what I have. ($500 dollars for a camera-if I am lucky, or upgrade my website, go to the AOLP conference, and etc.-The camera is going to have to wait for a while) Now it seems like there has been a lot of input saying that you REALLY HAVE TO HAVE RAW fromat. I am wondering if all the hype about the higher quality of is worth it? It seem like I have been able to get some pretty good shots with my point and shoot. I am going to attach a bunch of pictures I personally think are hard to beat. That is just my oppinion. NOW I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR that I am not challenging the photo geeks because one of these days I will be on yourside of the fence. I also don't want you to hold back on any punches regarding criticizm I want your honest oppinions on these pictures and I would like to know what RAW format, and etc could improve upon. Architecture seems to be my biggest challenge when it comes to hot spots. However, I think my pictures on this thread shows that a lot of the problems in a photo comes down to the skill and placement of the lighting professional
Thanks for all the valuable input
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

NightLightingFX
09-06-2007, 10:11 PM
Here is two more that didn't make it on
~Ned

NightLightingFX
09-06-2007, 10:17 PM
I am trying put up 2 more pictures but they won't take. I have posted them earlier on this site maybe that has something to do with it. It is the water pic with the unique fixtures and my tree.
~Ned
www.nightinglightingfx.com

JoeyD
09-06-2007, 10:42 PM
Very Nice Ned!!!

NightScenes
09-06-2007, 11:05 PM
Ned, your shots are looking pretty good. As Joey said, you don't have to get too deep into photography to take good pictures of your work. I have a decent camera (Canon Rebel XT). I use the night time landscape setting and then punch it up a little in photo shop. I still don't know how to shoot in RAW even though my camera can do it. I just don't think it's a must have.

Here is a shot I took a little while back. I just set up the tripod, set the camera on night time and then used photoshop to bring it out a little.

JoeyD
09-06-2007, 11:20 PM
Paul where are all the frogs holding umbrellas!!??


I'm just teasing

NightScenes
09-06-2007, 11:24 PM
Not on this project Joey. This one is going into an international magazine as well as some television.

JoeyD
09-06-2007, 11:30 PM
Well it definitly looks worthy. Your job photos always look good!! I would love to see your entire portfolio sometime. Maybe you could bring it to San Diego when you come visit.

I wont make fun of the little froggies anymore!!;) I dont know that I have ever seen one in action so I shouldnt knock them.

JoeyD
09-06-2007, 11:33 PM
Ned, your shots are looking pretty good. As Joey said, you don't have to get too deep into photography to take good pictures of your work. I have a decent camera (Canon Rebel XT). I use the night time landscape setting and then punch it up a little in photo shop. I still don't know how to shoot in RAW even though my camera can do it. I just don't think it's a must have.

Here is a shot I took a little while back. I just set up the tripod, set the camera on night time and then used photoshop to bring it out a little.


This job looks like it could be in California. Very nice, the more I look at it the more I like it. That stone overlay looks so awesome, I love that stuff!

rsingh
09-06-2007, 11:41 PM
You don't need to shoot in RAW mode for night photos.

For night photography where you're holding exposures for anything longer than a second, you NEED a tripod. It doesn't have to be a $400 Gitzo tripod like I use, but anything stable for around $80 - $100.

Most night photos can be taken with ISO 400 - 800, with the exposure set for longer. That's it.

You don't need any special filters nor do you need to use Photoshop for the pics I am about to show you. I do a lot of photography for car shows etc.

I shoot with a 5 year old Canon 10D SLR.

I will check out the manual for your camera this weekend and post up some tips for you on what settings to use for a better picture of your houses with landscape lighting.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/23/29729863_fcc1905164_b.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/22/29728422_890fc1b3a1_b.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/23/29727544_f271f90be8_b.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/23/29728223_76c71241a4_b.jpg

NightLightingFX
09-07-2007, 11:26 AM
Rsing,
On my camera which is an Olympus Sylus 500. If I put it on night settings will that over ride any setting I put on ISO? or is ISO still effective even if the night setting is being used? When I played with it last week I didn't really notice a difference but I wouldn't rely on my opinion. Thanks
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

rsingh
09-07-2007, 11:55 AM
Night settings are still using some automatic functions of the camera.

Do you have an "A" setting on your camera? Using aperture priority mode is a good start for night picture.

Rsing,
On my camera which is an Olympus Sylus 500. If I put it on night settings will that over ride any setting I put on ISO? or is ISO still effective even if the night setting is being used? When I played with it last week I didn't really notice a difference but I wouldn't rely on my opinion. Thanks
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

NightLightingFX
09-07-2007, 07:09 PM
I don't think there is an A setting, I could be wrong though. Just an exposure compensation setting, Scene setting-a lot of different ones including night time, and there is ISO.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

rsingh
09-08-2007, 12:06 AM
Sorry NightFX, there is no A setting as you stated. I just read the review on the camera here:

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/stylus_500-review/index.shtml

Since it lacks any "manual" features, it's going to be extremely limited as to what you can do with it at night. As a matter of fact, you are probably already at the limits of it with the pictures you took via the two Nightscene modes.

You can try and increase the ISO and bump EV up to +2, however your image will become 'noisier" with higher ISO levels.

That's the best I can offer you at this point without purchasing a newer Canon or Nikon that offers manual controls.



I don't think there is an A setting, I could be wrong though. Just an exposure compensation setting, Scene setting-a lot of different ones including night time, and there is ISO.
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com

Lite4
09-09-2007, 11:26 PM
Hey Ned, I was just through Pasco today. I did a job up in Coeurd' A Lane this week and drove back today. Going back up in a week to do the back yard. PM me with your number and I'll call you on my way through and take you to lunch.