night pics

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by tdf, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. tdf

    tdf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Does anyone know how to take night pics with a canon a40?

    I am trying, but they keep coming out bad.

    Thanks, TDF
  2. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    I can't help ya with your canon. Our Sony's take real good pics at night.
  3. NY Landscape Lighting

    NY Landscape Lighting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I have an olympus 7MB digital wide angle. I use tripod and use night scene mode with the flash off. In this mode the shutter stays open for a while. But, I found even with tripod there was still some shake just from hitting buton. I bought a remote for it so it is totally stable. That was a big help because you may still shake the tripod without realizing when hitting the button. Also the microsoft picture manager has a nice enhance feature that does some nice stuff to brighten background a bit.
  4. eskerlite

    eskerlite LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    You need to hold a black piece of cardboard or stiff paper over the lens when you press the shutter then ease it away from the lens.Before the lens closes, ease the paper over the lens. This works with a slr or Digital slr. You pick the duration the shutter stays open. The paper stops the vibration from showing up on film. Try it.
  5. Roaar

    Roaar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I have the same camera. You can get some great night shot pictures with it.
    First, I'm not sure what you are trying to do with the shots, but I figure you are either going to print them or put them on the Web to show clients your work. If you print them, I wouldn't go bigger than 5x7 with your 2 mega pixel camera. Web will be fine. Using photo paper (Glossy) will give you a better presentation then ink jet prints. Here, the grocery stores and Target can make the prints for the same cost as 35 mm reprints, about 20 cents.
    Using the camera:
    You will get the best results by changing the compression to 'superfine'. It's under the resolution menu section. Then change the iso to '50'. 50 is less light sensitive (bad thing for night) but is the native mode for the chip the captures the image. It will basically give you a less "grainy" image, with less white spots in the dark areas.
    Set the camera to manual mode. Little "m" on the back.
    Turn off the flash.
    You have two choices on the aperture. I think it's f2.8 or f8.0. I'd start with f8.0, it will give more focus (greater depth of field).
    Now for the time exposure. As I remember, it will go up to four seconds. You shouldn't need that long, but you may.
    When to shoot:
    For architectural photography the magic time is sunset or sunrise. I'd suggest starting around sunset and shooting until dark. What you are trying to do is balance the landscape lights with natural light on the buildings. This will give more detail to the image and just make it look better. I'd start with about a 1/10 of a second exposure and go from there. The preview screen will show you if the whole thing is overexposed (too light) or underexposed (too dark). If it's overexposed, decrease the exposure time (maybe to 1/30 of a second). If it's underexposed, increase the exposure. As it gets darker, you will also need to increase the exposure time.
    Use a tripod it you have one. Use the self timer to take the picture- It's the button on the lower portion with a clock icon. If you use your finger on the shutter button, you will blur almost all the pix. If you don't have a tripod you don't need to get one. you can put the camera on a stable object like a stone wall, car, or fence-watch for wind on a fence. If the fence moves while the shutter is open you will get blurry photos. You can use a bean bag or tube sock filled with rice to hold the camera where you want it.

    That should get you started. Just keep playing with the exposure time to get it right.

    If you have other questions, email me.
  6. tdf

    tdf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

    I just did my first two lighting systems last weekend and I have been trying to take some decent pictures with this camera. I will go out again tonight and try.

    How do I change the aperture?

    Thanks, TDF
  7. tdf

    tdf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I almost forgot. What about the white balance?, what is aiaf? and should I set the size to med 1024x768?

    Thanks, TDF
  8. Roaar

    Roaar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    The aperture changes off the menu, similar to changing the resolution or iso. I'll have to take a look at mine to find it, it's not in front of me now.

    White balance is used to adjust the color temperature. What it does is bias the light source to make it look more like daylight. In theory, it can make a more natural looking image under tungsten indoor light without the yellow/orange cast. It's usually too dark indoors to use this camera without the flash. The flash is close to daylight, actually a little cooler (more blue). I just leave the white balance on auto. For lighting night shots, either auto or daylight would be my starting point. Most people seem to expect artificial light to have a warm color. Changing the white balance to tungsten may make the landscape lights look too cold.

    Aiaf is the focus mode. I think when it's set to 'on' you have the three boxes and the camera will focus on one and highlight that area. When set to 'off' it just focuses on the center. Either will work for night shots. I leave mine on.

    Set the size to Large, 1600x1200. You can resize it later. Most photo editing programs have the capability to resize. I always shoot at the highest resolution and size. I can always change it later on the computer, but can't fix a poor original that is missing information. Plus, you will have room for cropping if you need to.

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