Thursday, May 6, 2010

Night photography & manual control

Usually you would want to use a tripod if you are doing long exposure photography, but it is possible to get good results without one. For this shot, I was inside a bar photographing through the window. I propped my elbows on the table to steady my grip. This is shot at ISO 200, Aperture F8 and a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds. The focal length of the lens is 17mm (equivalent 25mm).

Using F8 gives me a good depth of field so the flag pole in the foreground is in focus and I also get some focus on the buildings in the background. I took 3 shots and this one came out the sharpest with the least camera shake. (The beauty of digital means I can check straight away to see if it's in focus!).

Because I was using a mid way closed down aperture of F8 and I kept my ISO low at 200, then the slow shutter speed was required. This was a deliberate choice as it allowed me to see a bit of movement in the flag which was blowing in the wind.

This is an example of when my choices allowed me to control the exposure to get the exact effect I wanted (large depth of field for the buildings and a slow shutter speed for some movement from the flag). The camera's auto setting would have read the fact that it was a dark night scene and would probably have chosen a wide open aperture to keep the shutter speed as high as possible (in order to avoid any camera shake). In this case I chose to do the opposite of what the camera's auto setting would have suggested.

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