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Old Aug 17, 2010, 12:58 PM   #1
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Default Night shot question

Hi all I plan on standing at an overpass and taking pictures of traffic coming by, you know the streaking lights effect. ( fz35k)
Here's my questions

1. Would a polarizer filter benefit the shot?

2. Any suggested settings?

Thanks for any help offered
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 1:34 PM   #2
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Wagaboo-

1. Use a tripod

2. Set the ISO to 100, to get a slow shutter speed

3. You can try the Polarizer, but it might create too slow a shutter speed.

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Old Aug 17, 2010, 2:12 PM   #3
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I've never had to use a polarizer as if cars are already using lights then it is dark enough.

You have a few things to control so it is going to be a case of playing around.

Assuming the cars are moving and you are not shooting straight towards them but more when the are going below, or even better past you to the side, then the brightness of the lights are controlled by ISO and aperture, if the lights are too bright then a narrower aperture or lower ISO, if too dark the the opposite.

Then you have the length of the trails, this is shutter speed, longer shutter speed, longer trails etc. The problem is that you also then have to balance all of this with the ambient light as if the shutter is open too long you get too much ambient light, too little and not enough ambient. Obviously changing the ISO/aperture also affects ambient so you have all 3 variables to play with..... yes fun I know.

I would stat with shutter priority and set it to say half a second with one stop negative exposure compensation...... this will at least give you an idea of starting settings to play around with. You certainly can stay in the auto/semi auto settings all the time, but if you want real control over the finial results you are best to play as mentioned. Depends how long you are out for and if you are going again, if so then keep it simple to start with then get more adventurous.

So recap, ambient light is controlled by all 3 elements, ISO, shutter, aperture.

The intensity of the car lights (assuming they all stay going past at the same speed and are the same angle, brightness) is controlled with aperture and and ISO.

If you are shooting more into the cars then having them go past then you will find that you get little movement and a lot of over exposure.

Don't forget to let us see the results.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 2:13 PM   #4
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Oh and for sure the tripod, that's essential.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 8:34 PM   #5
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polarizer will cut reflection and add about 2-3 stops. And shooting at 100iso and a small aperture of f11 or smaller, depending on the traffic density. It may make all the lights into one streak. I think it is a bit of over kill with a polarizer if you are shooting at 100 iso if it is a dark out.

This was shoot off a tripod, at 100 iso, and at f11 for 20 sec. No cpl,

PS

I would not put a c-pl on at night, if there is some stray light, you may get flares and color rings in the shot if you do not have a really good multi coated one.
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Old Aug 19, 2010, 12:02 AM   #6
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Thanks so much for the excellent replies I will be trying those very soon and will post for your comments...Thanks again
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