Posts Tagged ‘long exposure’

Miroslav Petrasko is great HDR photographer from Slovakia, you can check his work right here, and was visiting Prague. We managed to do a photowalk together and captured some really nice images. We started out at Railroad bridge but unfortunately I got card error and all my images from the beginning of walk are gone 😦 I was upset because one of the finest photos were there …

Anyway, we were shooting sunset above Prague from Žižkovsky transmitter. Too bad there was a reconstruction and everything was dirty including glass we were shooting through. Here is one of the better images I took.

Sunset above Prague

Try to be Creative

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Blog
Tags: , ,

Hey guys, just a short article for today. Everytime I shoot I’m trying to come up with something new. It doesn’t matter if my quest is portrait, landscape or anything else. When you do a new thing you haven’t ever done or nobody did it, then you will be unique. Just how to be so unique?

When I was shooting portraits with my friends it took a long time and we stayed out till night. Because we were close to fairground I got this cool idea. I put my camera to full manual, mounted it on tripod, used 24-70 combined with flash, 10s exposure and f/11 aperture. I fired the flash manually on 9th second to get as less motion blur as possible and good exposure. Here is final image.

Hey guys, I’m back with another blog post. This time I was out shooting star trails. I’ll try to cover all stuff you need for this type of shoots, write down some of my experience and maybe even post a video. So let’s go.

Equipement

First of all you need a camera with BULB function. This will enable you to keep a shutter opened as long as needed, even more than 30 seconds. Im sure all Canon and Nikon DSLRs have this function, if you’re shooting Olympus, Sony or anything else, just check out your manual if you aren’t sure. Next piece you’ll need is a cable release with shutter button lock. It will minimalize camera shake from pressing the button and thanks to shutter lock you don’t have to be holding the actual button for 10 minutes or even more. And the last part of equipement is a good tripod. These three things are essencial.

The Rule of 600

This is quite general rule in night photography. What does it mean/do? To get star trails, your shutter need to be opened for some time. And that time you’ll get by dividing number 600 by your focal length. And the result is in seconds. If you keep your shutter speed longer than the result, you will have trails in your shot. Of course, longer shutter stays opened, better results will be. This rule isn’t any dogma or carved in stone, just a helpful tip 😉

Shooting

Not much to say about this part. You need dark enviroment so getting this type of shot is almost impossible in city because light polution. Get out into country, find some great spot and wait for dark. BRING A FLASHLIGHT! It will keep you company 🙂 How long should your shutter stay opened? You have to test that out. Every place is different. Shoot in BULB mode, set your aperture as you need to and fire some test shots. Be sure to have your batteries fully charged up, these photos sucks them dry very quickly. With time you can take photos in matter of seconds but even minutes and more. Just watch the temperature. In hot climate sensor will heat up faster and might get damaged with very long exposures. Shooting in colder conditions is better because you’ll be able to get away with longer exposures.

Post processing

These types of photos need some post processing. First of all, shoot in RAW mode, it will give you most data to work with. First I was trying to double process an image, once for sky and once for foreground. Wasn’t a bad idea but blending those two together gave me a headache. And the result wasn’t as good as I wanted. Then I tried just Lightroom, used exposure, fill light and blacks to get great looking image. Corrected a bit white balance and gave few finishing touches. And here is the final result.

Spin, Baby, Spin!

As you  might know, tripod is an essential thing for photographers. You should buy a really good and sturdy one for the best support. Now, when Christmas are coming, I’m thinking about buying myself a new one. Suddenly, many questions came to my mind about what type, what should be the supported weight, what material, how much it should cost etc.

If I wasn’t a full-time student but a politician or someone really wealthy, I’d go with Gitzo tripods. That Carbon fiber technology gives you huge stability, light weight, big height and of course huge cost 😦

The tripod I have

At this time I have the Hama Star 62, a really cheap tripod (cost me about $40), but at that time I used only my Rebel XSi (450D) from Canon with 18-55 IS lens. Now, when I have much more equipment, I need more support. Especially for my 70-200 f/4 non IS with my XSi+Battery Grip. That is “heavy” combo and the tripod isn’t as good as it should be in support. When will you realize that is true?

Why I need to change my tripod?

DSLRs are taking images by flipping the mirror up (and than much electric operations happen etc.). But that is the thing I’m going to change my tripod. When the mirror flips up, it makes some camera shake. With my 70-200 tripod isn’t sturdy enough and the mirror will cause movement. For long exposures and using shorter lens my 28-70 it’s OK, I can take 20s exposure and have it tight sharp. That is because the mirror flip movement isn’t as powerful as with my 70-200. But how many times I’m shooting so long exposures? Of course, everything is possible and I’m not saying I’m not shooting those.

But mostly I’m somewhere about 1/60s or less. With better tripod I’m able to use the lens with these exposures and be sure I’ll get sharp shot. That is the most important thing. If your photos have noise, that is a bit problem. But if your photos aren’t sharp, than you cannot do anything about it! You can throw them away, delete, erase and your whole trip could be a disaster! Just because the tripod.

What I’ll buy?

In short, Manfrotto 190XPROB and Manfrotto 496RC2 ballhead. The height of the combination is same as my tripod and I’m used to it so it’s ok. I’m sure it will be more sturdy and stable. A good way to check? As someone who has it. Google it, go to B&H Photo Video website and check the reviews. Everything was fantastic. I was just thinking about getting a higher model, the 055XPROB, but after some time and a lot of calculations I decided for 190XPROB.

What was the most valuable thing for my decision?

You wouldn’t believe it, but the most valuable thing for me was …  hold on …. a meter! With it I was able to compare everything not just by using some numbers but also visually. Very important thing. Yeah, you might read that the tripod is 122cm high but is it big enough? 122 isn’t so big, but when you’ll attach ball head and camera, it will grow. Then you just have to take the meter and see where the final number is.

I’m sure I’ll have a blast with this tripod 🙂

Last Tuesday I decided to take a walk and make some shots of Prague’s Castle. I didn’t have my whole equipment with me because it couldn’t fit into my bag and I was and still am quite sad. I took only tripod and my 28-70mm lens with me. I was photographing from Palackeho’s Bridge and according to the distance and focal length I was able to get a “close-up” shot with lens zoomed all the way in and also the wide one zoomed all the way out.

But lets talk a bit about photography. I put the tripod on ground, extended all my legs, leveled it and put on my camera. Everything looked really fine. There were just few problems. I took the first shot at f/16 and 0 EV. How I thought before the shot, whole scene was brighter than it should be. This was caused by the camera itself.

As you might know, camera is looking for grey color in pictures and tries to compensate for it aka making grey really grey. If it cannot find any it will make some. If you’re shooting in dark place (room without lights or night shots), it will try to make that black or dark light a grey one. That means you have to put it back. Each other shot was made with -1EV, except the HDR, of course.

I was going for that silk water look and had to use f/8. That wasn’t the best decision, I should have gone for f/5.6. With smaller aperture, lights will have that star shape and I wanted to avoid it. Another thing is traffic like boats and cars. You can take a shot with light trails. It looks really nice.

But what pissed me off? Airplanes! When you have a 30s exposure a plane is flying thought the scene, there will be dots caused by lights of the plain. I was fortunate enough these trails were just on one shot and I didn’t need the shot at all (it was the +1EV for HDR).

This post is the same as on my other website JanJilek.ic.cz.