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Author Topic: My First Long exposure - city  (Read 7743 times)

Cyclops

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My First Long exposure - city
« on: December 18, 2011, 11:55:44 AM »


This was an impromptu shot, just so happened to have my tripod with me.

5D Mark II 17/40 F/4 - 30 sec exposure, F/11 - I think I really could have gone longer with this exposure, but I didn't bring my release cable.  Also need to bust out the manual and find where mirror lock up is.  I was running short on time, didn't get to take as many pictures as I wanted.  We were in an unlit park, and a group on gang bangers had started to gather as we were taking pictures.

I also discovered that my tripod sucks, tried to get a long exposure of space needle with my 70-200 F/2.8 II - and my tripod would not stay still with the extra weight, and those pictures didn't turn out so good.

Anyways - I up for tips/tricks/suggests/critique - just trying to get to that next level.

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My First Long exposure - city
« on: December 18, 2011, 11:55:44 AM »

branden

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 06:40:52 PM »
Mirror lockup is in the Custom Functions menu on the 5DII. However, I don't think you'll notice any difference on a wide angle lens -- camera shake from mirror movement is much more apparent on long shots and heavy lenses like your 70-200.

Regarding using the 70-200 for long exposures on a tripod ... well, maybe my tripod technique sucks, but I've had much more success with that with the camera on a beanbag or other cushion. If you have sandbags for holding tripods in place, those make great impromptu beanbags.

For the shot you posted, sorry but it looks about 2 or 3 stops underexposed. You can shoot that same shot at f/5.6 without any change besides exposure, and it will be a much brighter, colorful photo. What I'm imagining is the same composition, but much more light reflected from the water, and the very faint blue glow behind Seattle coming in much more visible and brighter. Other lights may reflect off of clouds.

You're likely end up blowing out the hilites on the light sources, but sometimes that's OK.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 06:42:42 PM by branden »

branden

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 06:50:23 PM »
Not to hijack your thread, but I wanted to show an example of what I was talking about. Here's a photo of mine, taken under similar conditions. The water's reflection is adding to the composition, and the blue of the night sky is more apparent (but not as apparent as it could be if it were overcast).

Here's the exposure details:
30 seconds at f/14 at ISO 200
50mm f/1.4 USM lens


Cyclops

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 11:49:31 AM »
If i had brought my F rating down, would I have lost sharpness in the lights & buildings?  I really wanted to experiment more, but the situation did not allow me to linger. 

Here is one that did turn out brigther, I didn't like the photo as much, because the light trail on the left is not a defined, but i did get better light off the water.


branden

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 04:23:38 PM »
If i had brought my F rating down, would I have lost sharpness in the lights & buildings?  I really wanted to experiment more, but the situation did not allow me to linger. 
The 17-40L is not a lens I've used, but it should be fine at f/5.6 since that's a stop down from maximum, and probably best at f/8. Canon L lenses tend to be sharpest at a 1 or 2 stops from maximum aperture, in my experience with other L lenses. Especially since you're focusing at infinity, which should also make achieving a sharp image easier on the lens.

The new photo you posted I think is a stronger image, since the buildings have more definition.

This is Seattle from the opposite shore of Lake Washington, right? I have some friends up there, nice area

thepancakeman

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 04:40:17 PM »
Excellent shots!  I agree that the second one is the stronger image, but the first one is not bad either, and could certainly hold it's own depending on what you're trying to express/show/use it for.

I don't know the techincal term--perhaps barrel distortion?--the the first one has a tallish building (3 floors?) that is clearly leaning into the photo.  In addition, what I'm guessing is downtown (the lightest section of the city, about the 2nd quarter of the photo from the left) is--or appears to be--tilted up a couple of degrees which makes it feel unbalanced to me.  But nice work--better than what I can do!

Cyclops

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 12:47:20 PM »
Thank you for all the positive comments, I have some time off at the end of the year, and I hope to get some more practice.

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 12:47:20 PM »

awinphoto

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 01:01:46 PM »
At the distance you were shooting, you could have easily shot F4 if you wish to brighten the lights without losing sharpness...  F4 beyond infinity is still infinity...  Get a stronger tripod for longer exposure... If you cant afford one, look to see if you cant bring sandbags/weights to anchor your tripod down...  Some tripods have a loop or hook or thread under the center column of the tripod... I used to connect a sandbag to it or attach a short bungee cord to it and hook it to the ground somehow to add stability.  A remote shutter release will come into a great help for this kind of shot..  Keep working at it and keep posting images for us.  :)
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L IS, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 2 430EX 2's and a partridge in a pear tree.

Cyclops

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 10:56:24 PM »
At the distance you were shooting, you could have easily shot F4 if you wish to brighten the lights without losing sharpness...  F4 beyond infinity is still infinity...  Get a stronger tripod for longer exposure... If you cant afford one, look to see if you cant bring sandbags/weights to anchor your tripod down...  Some tripods have a loop or hook or thread under the center column of the tripod... I used to connect a sandbag to it or attach a short bungee cord to it and hook it to the ground somehow to add stability.  A remote shutter release will come into a great help for this kind of shot..  Keep working at it and keep posting images for us.  :)

Good to know regarding the F rating. 

A good tripod is most definitely in order now that Christmas is out of the way.

Now I need one more piece of advise.  This type of night shot would look better on Kodak metallic or Canvas?  I really like to print on more exotic materials.

Caps18

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 01:13:23 AM »
Practice some more before you print any.  It is a guessing game at the setting sometimes.

To frame a photo, take a sample photo at a high ISO setting, lowest f stop to make sure things are where you want them.

I use the lowest f stop and focus manually at infinity, or you can use a flashlight and auto focus then switch it to manual before taking the shot.

If you don't have a shutter release for bulb pictures, you can use the timer to give you two or ten seconds to remove your hand from the camera.

And you can use liveview (top left button on the back) to flip the mirror up, but for a city shot it shouldn't matter.
5D mark 2, 16-35mm f/2.8, 17mm TS-E f/4, 85mm f/1.8, 300mm f/4 + 1.4x, 580 EX Flash

briansquibb

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 03:11:57 AM »
The 17-40L is best at f/8 and f/11, especoally on a ff. More open than that and the extemes start to get soft

metrodcphotography

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 05:27:14 PM »
Couple other things you might want to try.  Instead of using MLU, try using live-view.  You can get less vibrations from that then MLU:

http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/michael/blog/0910/index.html#091002
http://www.juzaphoto.com/article.php?l=en&article=4

Another thing to watch out for is wind.  I do high resolution panoramas using zoom lenses and if the wind is blowing too much then just that alone will cause vibrations.  The less wind the better. 

Here's some examples of what I've done:


Canon 7D
Canon EF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM @ 300MM
15 Sec



Canon 7D
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM @ 300MM
20 Sec



Canon 7D
Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 300MM
15 Sec

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Re: My First Long exposure - city
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 05:27:14 PM »