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Old Mar 15, 2007, 5:23 PM   #1
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We had some real nice warm weather a couple days ago and I decided to go for a walk at night and try for some decent low light photos. I ended up stopping by the local cemetery. It was quite muddy and there weren't a lot of areas that had any light so it was difficult to find decent spots to shoot, especially without using a tripod.

These photos were all taken pretty close together using the light from an adjacent parking lot. It's interesting how the photos come out looking like there's much more light than there actually was.

They were all taken with the K100d using an SMC-A 50mm f/1.7.



ISO 3200 - f/1.7 - 1/4 second




ISO 1600 - f/1.7 - 1/6 second




ISO 3200 - f/1.7 - 1/4 second




ISO 1600 - f/1.7 - 1/6 second



All of these photos required a decent amount of tweaking in ACR, and a couple minor fixes in Photoshop. The ones shot at 1600 were done so to capture a bit more dynamic range and then had to be brightened up. I took a few shots of each view with slightly different settings to make sure one came out OK

For this shot, though, I took quite a few tries. The lighting was much worse than the rest (which is saying a lot), but it looked very interesting to me because of the odd flares that appear in the background. I think it showed some peresistence to take several dozen photos of the same gravestone standing in a muddy cemetery after midnight.





ISO 3200 - f/1.7 - 1/2 second


I believe that was really pushing the camera to it's limits. It did come out rather noisy and required much heavier repair work in Photoshop. One trick I've learned though is that you can remove noise much more effectively by reducing the image size first. Often the loss of detail due to the noise is already such that you wouldn't even lose anything by doing so.

These weren't the prettiest of pictures, but I thought some of you Pentaxians might enjoy seeing the camera pushed to it's limits.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 6:50 PM   #2
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I like them a lot, especially the first two. The pictures kind of ooze a moodiness that matches the subject matter. Cemetery by ambient light is a great idea and your results are very cool.

Tim
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 7:26 PM   #3
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Nice imagery. Never would have thought about visiting a cemetary for photo ideasr. By the way, could help notice your "handle" (Corpsy) in relationship to the subject matter in this posting:-)
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 7:36 PM   #4
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Wow. I would have been creeped out instantly

Nice shots, especially considering the conditions. The 50mm is a great little lens isnt it?


P.S.: Anyone that watches South Park should find the 3rd picture hilarious "Oh my god they killed kenny!"
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 7:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments. Maybe when the cemetery dries out I'll go pickup a small, lightweight tripod that I could bring in there and get some longer exposures. I'd like some pictures clean enough to use as desktop wallpapers.


TDN wrote:
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P.S.: Anyone that watches South Park should find the 3rd picture hilarious "Oh my god they killed kenny!"
:lol:

I almost made that the image caption! I was just concerned that someone who didn't watch South Park would misunderstand and somehow end up offended (I'm always surprised by the things that offend some people).

And yes, the 50mm is very nice. I couldn't have gotten anything decent without that lens, though I guess I could have used my Super Takumar 50mm 1.4, it just would have gotten worse glares.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 12:12 AM   #6
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These are wonderful - love the last one. Did you use a specialized software to deal with the noise (noise ninja or neat image or ?)? Graveyards are fascinating places for photography, tombstones are often so unique and interesting. Never would have thought about photographing one at night.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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Those are some great shots.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 7:00 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments Mtngal and Flaco!

Mtngal, for noise reduction I turn the sharpness all the way down when importing the and use some color noise reduction when importing the RAW. Then in Photoshop I use the built in noise reduction filter. In the case of the last image, I applied a heavy amount of smoothing to a copy of the image on a separate layer and masked it to only apply to the sky.

The main trick is reducing the image size first. The more you push the camera sensitivity, either by increasing the ISO or by brightening the photo in post, the more you start to see larger and larger noise artifacts. Noise reduction tools do a good job of getting rid of the small ones, but often overlook the large ones. Shrinking the image makes it so the noise reduction tool will actually remove those as well.

Sometimes I'll then take the fixed smaller image, resize it back to full size, then paste it over the original full res image as a color layer. That is often a good way to keep the benefits of both the detail of the original, and the clean look of the fixed image. In the case of these images though, the loss of detail at high ISO was such that no real detail was lost when shrinking the images.
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Old Mar 17, 2007, 1:55 AM   #9
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So Creepy and Cool
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