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Night Photography for Beginners

Have you wanted to take photos at night, but haven't tried it yet? This meetup is to help you learn the steps to taking bright, sharp photos of buildings and lights at night.

This meetup is for beginners who haven't taken a night city landscape photo before. If you already know how to do it, you're still welcome to come, but we'll be covering just the basics for the group.

Things you'll learn
* The steps for getting your camera ready
* The process for taking a shot
* The Golden Hour / The Blue Hour

Things to bring:
* Camera that has aperture priority or full manual controls
* A lens that has a wide angle to it. Your 18-55 kit lens is fine.
* A tripod (mandatory)
* If you don't have a tripod, bring a bead-filled travel pillow
* A flashlight
* Your camera's manual
* It's nice to have a remote shutter cable, but don't worry about it if you don't have one.

We'll be using manual controls and self timer to take photos, so take a look at these functions before you come. I can help you if you have a Canon dSLR, but we'll need your manual to figure out these functions for other brands.

If anyone's interested in meeting up later, it's a short walk to Gordon Biersch.

Some examples of photos taken during "The Blue Hour"

The Scoop in London

New York City from the top of Rockefeller Center

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  • Brian T

    Thanks tex, yes, we covered the basics, but there are a number of additional things, such as using mirror lock-up to eliminate the shake of the mirror movement, live view with manual focus, and using the hyperfocal distance.
    I noticed quite a few people were using RAW. If you're getting started in RAW, the in camera sharpeners aren't applies to the photo (whereas JPG they are), so you'll have to apply them in post processing.
    Did you try turning off image stabilization (IS)? On standard lenses, the IS can't tell the camera isn't moving, and will keep attempting to adjust. With these lenses, it's necessary to turn IS off when on tripod. More advanced lenses can detect that the camera isn't moving, and it's fine to leave IS on.
    It is possible that the tripod plays a factor, but try some of the other techniques first before buying new equipment.
    Feel free to send me some sample photos to see if I spot something obvious. Glad to meet you and look forward to seeing you at future events.

    August 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks Brian. I was using a Nike D80 with the AF-S Nikkor [masked]G II ED, no VR. It's a cheap lens, but I think should be sharper than this. I was set at f/11. I read the lens sharpness sweetspot is closer to 5.6, so that may be part of the issue. I use raw+jpeg and Lightroom. I posted a few photos that I had processed in Lightroom. If you want I can send you the raw and/or the jpeg the camera produced. I reviewed the image to see if the softness was in a particular direction, indicating some camera motion and also to see if there is a particular point in focus, indicating that the camera focused on something different than I had intended. The tripod is the weifeng wt350, also cheap, but some of the long exposure shots don't look any worse than the short exposure, so I don't think tripod shake was an issue. I am curious if others also thought their images were soft. Regardless, it was a very useful meetup and I was glad to have the experience.

      August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for arranging this Brian. It was a good session and it was good to practice night shots. One suggestion for the next workshop is to discuss picture sharpness. Mine have a slight fuzziness. I don't think it is the tripod stability, since the clarity does not degrade for the longer exposures. It may be my lens, but I don't think so. Looking at other's pictures, they seem soft too. Is it the nature of night photography, or can the sharpness be improved?

    August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a good learning experience! I am a beginner and I got a lot of information from Brian and other photographers.

    August 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you for setting up this meetup. It was great to meet other great photographers and learn from them. Thanks for the prep sheet. it really helped me take a couple of decent shots!

    August 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you Brian for organizing this event! It's great to get out there and shoot.

    August 26, 2012

  • sands in my b.

    I will be happy to give up tomorrow's session & take the next session instead ... once you give me a date (weekday / weekend?)

    August 25, 2012

  • Brian T

    Hi Everyone,

    We have a huge waiting list for this event, so if you're not planning to come, please update your reservation right away so that waiting members have a chance to come. In addition, I will try to schedule a repeat event for the waiting list members for another time.

    August 24, 2012

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