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Old Feb 17, 2004, 9:23 AM   #1
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Default Starburst around lights at night

I have a model railroad with lights I'm tring to photograph.
I am on my 3rd try with mixed results.

First, I set the camera to the program mode as I have been using it. I placed it on a tripod and do a timer shot to elimmate the shake on longer exposures. I tried it first by just clicking the shutter, but there was blur even with a tripod. The exposures were 2 to 6 seconds. I found at the default exposure setting the shots were too bright (they looked like twilight shots, not night shots). I correcting them in my image editing program but it didn't help enough.

Next, I fixed the aperture to F8 to increase the depth of field (which is a major problem here) and let the camera set the sutter speed. I also reduced the exposure by .3, then by .7 and finally by a full 1 ev. The shots were 8 to 15 seconds.

Now I solved the blur, the overly bright look, but now the lights all have a 'starburst' effect without the starburst filter! While it might be nice if there were only one light in the shot, there are as many as 4 in some shots and it is to overwhelming! A nice effect I admit, but something I didn't want.

Question: Why is a smaller aperture and longer exposure causeing this where a large aperture and slightly shorter exposure doesn't? Same lighting, angles etc.
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Old Feb 21, 2004, 6:50 AM   #2
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It has everything to do with the apperture blades in the camera. Every camera has it. Without altering your camera settings you can try;

1) Try to block the lights for 4 seconds or more durining exposure.

2) Use a regular light dimmer and tune lights down

3) Most simple; just switch the lights on for a shorter period than the overall exposure.
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