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Old Sep 5, 2011, 6:49 PM   #1
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Default River... and some questions

I went at dusk to shoot long exposures of a river. I get there and, IMO, the light is perfect for the effect I wanted. I was shooting with the E-620 and the kit lens (14-42mm).

My eyes see a dark river, I can barely see the end of it. I setup the tripod and here's what I get:



stats: In aperture priority, f8, shutter @ 30s, ISO 100, 42mm...

This makes it look like it was mid-day almost. Not even close to what my eyes are seeing.

I flip to manual mode and play around the shutter speed, making it faster thus letting less light in the shot:



stats: f8, shutter @ 10s, ISO 100, 42mm

It's sort of close, but, is this the way to proceed usually? I would have thought that the tripod would have given me the results I wanted to begin with.
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Last edited by TekiusFanatikus; Sep 5, 2011 at 8:06 PM. Reason: added stats details for 1st pic
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Old Sep 6, 2011, 5:23 AM   #2
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Hi Dan,

Using a tripod is absolutely the way to go when shooting long exposures as far as reducing camera shake and blur. But, when you shoot long exposures, you're allowing the camera to let in a lot more light. Thus, the overall scene is brighter. It works against you when you want to maintain the darkness of the scene.

Another factor that comes into play is the metering system of the camera. When the camera's metering system is set to matrix metering, the camera automatically take measurements across a wide area of the frame to arrive at the 'best' exposure. This usual result is that the dark shadow areas are brightened- because that's what the camera thinks you want it to do.

Try changing the metering mode on your camera to center weighted average metering when you want to maintain the dark background of a landscape scene.

Something else you might want to try is to set your camera for a 3shot exposure bracketing using an exp comp value of .3exp comp. Then take 3 shots of the same scene. Each time the shutter is activated the exp value will be adjusted by 1/3 by the camera. You may get the result you're looking for.

Also, I would experiment with the aperture being stopped down to f16 increasing the depth of field but also requiring the shutter to stay open for a much longer period of time to allow enough light to properly expose the scene. I would suggest F16, shutter set to being open for 30 seconds with an ISO 100. Naturally, you want it to be calm and not windy when using long exposures.

P.S. I use manual mode exclusively.

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Old Sep 6, 2011, 7:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Another factor that comes into play is the metering system of the camera.

Try changing the metering mode on your camera to center weighted average metering when you want to maintain the dark background of a landscape scene.
Latelly, I have been configuring this setting a lot more. It's easy to tell when you're not getting a specific aperture/shutter that this might be the cause. But I will admit having forgotten about it for this set of pics.

When I got home and saw the horrible results from the moon I also shot, I dawned on me that I didn't have the proper metering mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Something else you might want to try is to set your camera for a 3shot exposure bracketing using an exp comp value of .3exp comp. Then take 3 shots of the same scene. Each time the shutter is activated the exp value will be adjusted by 1/3 by the camera. You may get the result you're looking for.
I had taken single shots with exposure compensation but didn't like what it had produced. I went through multiple settings on the negative exposure compensation and reached the max without liking the end result. Here too I'll admit end user fault as the potential cause for the bad/unexpected results
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Old Sep 6, 2011, 8:39 PM   #4
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When shooting at (or near) a full moon, your night shots are nearly always going to look like daytime. The moon is a very strong lamp. If you want things to have that weird coloring, try shooting when the moon isn't full, or before it's risen.

I'm not sure what problems you were having when trying to photograph the moon, but... When shooting the moon itself, try using the "Sunny f/16 rule". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule The moon is lit up by the sun, so you need to treat it as you would any other sun-lit subject.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 7, 2011, 4:41 AM   #5
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I'm not sure what problems you were having when trying to photograph the moon,
IMO, I think I just had the metering wrong. I had area metering instead of spot metering. I'm pretty sure I was on Aperture priority thus it would have selected the proper shutter speed.

A previous shot of the moon I took (f8, ISO 100 and aperture priority):



Not too worried about that one

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When shooting at (or near) a full moon, your night shots are nearly always going to look like daytime. The moon is a very strong lamp. If you want things to have that weird coloring, try shooting when the moon isn't full, or before it's risen.
However, you do make a valid point here. The moon, was at my back and it was a clear night. Plus, it may have not been full, but it was quite bright. Maybe the light of the moon, combined with the long exposure explains my results.
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