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-   -   Tripod problems and thoughts on a blur shot (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12723)

crazytiger 08-29-2010 01:48 PM

Tripod problems and thoughts on a blur shot
 
I tried this and I thought it looked pretty good.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazytiger/4937226165/

Secondly, WHY DOES MY TRIPOD JITTER!?!?!? I bought my SunPak 6600DX about two months ago at Best Buy. Why does it shake? As evidenced by the above shot, it does so pretty badly. I hung my camera bag from it for the shot.

Joe the Photog 08-29-2010 02:44 PM

Was it windy at all? Where are you hanging your camera bag from? Is it waying? I've never hung my bag from my tripod, so I don't know how this works.

bigbassloyd 08-29-2010 02:49 PM

How to you fire the shutter? Do you press the button with your hand, or use a release?

Loyd L.

JRMDC 08-29-2010 02:51 PM

I'm not an expert on this, but ... :)

Looking at that yellow line on the cab, there is an initial large jitter that calms down. Something happened right at the beginning, a shock, which then faded away. Are you using the shutter release on the body? Perhaps you need to use a remote so you don't touch the camera to start the exposure.

Dennis A. Livesey 08-29-2010 03:26 PM

Assuming that your tripod does not bend or twist when you apply any pressure to it, try in this order:

1.Using a remote, either wired or wireless. If no remote, a self-timer delay of 2 seconds. (Obviously not a good idea on action subjects.)
2. Adding weight, like your bag, making sure it does not sway.
3. Locking the mirror up.

Joe the Photog 08-29-2010 04:41 PM

That probably is the reason -- pressing the shutter down automatically. Didn't think of that.

crazytiger 08-29-2010 06:49 PM

If your assumptions were true, it would be easy. But they're not. I use a wireless remote. I hung my camera from one of the three pieces that goes from the middle post to the legs (the back one). I would say, if this were the only case that I must have bumped the camera bag, tripod, or camera on the shot, but it also occurred on the shot. My Amtrak shot from this morning (not worth showing) had some of the same problem but not as much.
I would love comments about this shot's prospects and I would also love specific tips on improving my night streak shots. I am having consistent trouble with them but I just keep trying.

Dennis A. Livesey 08-29-2010 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazytiger (Post 120365)
If your assumptions were true, it would be easy. But they're not. I use a wireless remote. I hung my camera from one of the three pieces that goes from the middle post to the legs (the back one). I would say, if this were the only case that I must have bumped the camera bag, tripod, or camera on the shot, but it also occurred on the shot. My Amtrak shot from this morning (not worth showing) had some of the same problem but not as much.
I would love comments about this shot's prospects and I would also love specific tips on improving my night streak shots. I am having consistent trouble with them but I just keep trying.

For the purpose of trying to analyze your problem, my only "assumption" was that your inexpensive light weight tripod doesn't flex or twist.

Not being there with you at the time of the photograph (was the tripod on solid ground or on heavy undergrowth?) the rest of what I said were three standard procedures on making as sharp an image as possible.

In answer to your question, I don't think this shot has any prospects. The idea is fine you but you have to analyze what make the successful ones work.

I have few streak shots myself so I am not an authority on the subject. Here is the one I do have on RP.

[photoid=299486]

crazytiger 08-29-2010 08:19 PM

I had it set on short centipede grass.

mersenne6 08-29-2010 08:30 PM

Given that everything was locked down - all of the adjustment screws and handles tightened - proper weight on the camera - remote release - then the most likely thing is transmitted ground vibration from the passing train. I've done a number of streak shots and ground vibration is an issue and when it happens it looks exactly like your picture.

There are a couple of workarounds.

1. Don't open the shutter until the last car in the train has passed your position. This works well if you are shooting down track with a telephoto and you are working with a short train such as Amtrak or a longer train - assuming you don't care about the light streaks from the wheel wells of the lead units.

2. Get vibration isolation cups for each foot of the tripod. Transmitted ground vibration is major problem if you are into astronomy and making long time exposures. The cups are sold in sets of 3 and are carried by various places that cater to amateur astronomers. They're not cheap but they do work.

Soo 6060 08-29-2010 09:13 PM

Shutter release cords..........Are they expensive, and are they universal between all cameras? I think I want to get one.

I'm now just starting to expiriment with night shots...I got one shot in the database:

[photoid=336000]

I did not uses a cord or anything.

James Heinrich 08-29-2010 09:28 PM

One other possibility is that the shake is induced by the image stabilizer feature of your lens, if it has one. It's great at getting rid of shake when there is some, but if the camera is locked down, it may get confused and actually introduce shake where there was none.

mSummers 08-29-2010 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soo 6060 (Post 120372)
Shutter release cords..........Are they expensive, and are they universal between all cameras? I think I want to get one.

Shutter release cords are not very expensive unless you get one of the really high tech ones that has a built in intervalometer (only necessary for time lapse or star trails).

They are not universal. I don't know about Canon, but Nikon has three different models. They have a simple plug jack on their lower end cameras and only make one release for those bodies. They have a 10-pin connection with a screw lock on their prosumer and professional cameras and make two different releases that fit the 10-pin connector (one regular release and one with an intervalometer).

crazytiger 08-30-2010 02:21 AM

How, and should I, disable the IS for these shots? For reference, I use a D70.

Joe the Photog 08-30-2010 02:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazytiger (Post 120390)
How, and should I, disable the IS for these shots? For reference, I use a D70.

Does the lens you use have IS?

James Heinrich 08-30-2010 02:38 AM

If the lens is the Nikkor 55-200 you have in your signature, I don't believe it does have in-lens IS. If it did, it should have an enable-disable switch, as on this Canon lens for example (bottom-right, under AF/MF switch):
http://www.onestop-digital.com/images/canon55-250.jpg

crazytiger 08-30-2010 02:45 AM

Yeah, I just checked them and there was no reference on either of my lenses or camera.

Heymon 08-30-2010 04:31 AM

To be honest, I think the biggest part of your problem is the tripod itself. There is a reason that your tripod was inexpensive. If they all worked the same then no one would really need to buy a more expensive one. I know, I was in the same boat and wanted to get a cheaper tripod like yours just to start out. I was convinced by a friend (as well as this forum) that I would soon have to buy another tripod once I tried using the cheaper one, so I got a Manfrotto.

I used that tripod in the desert to take a night shot in 20 mph wind on a 15 second exposure and still manage a good photo, and I did not hang anything under it while doing so, although I should have. In fact, the wind tipped the whole rig over after about 4 shots and I was lucky to catch it, but that goes to show you what a decent tripod can do versus a cheaper one.

I also think the engine vibration is a possibility, though your shot seems to be too far away for that to be the problem in this case. I have not had the experience yet of shooting night shots of moving trains close to the tracks, so I wouldn't know for sure. All I can say is that you will not regret getting a good tripod. It will last you for years and you won't have to worry about it.

Holloran Grade 08-31-2010 07:48 AM

I don't see any tripod shake.
 
Look at the signal bridge and the objects in the background - they are all pretty clear.

They would have been clearer had you focused more on them, or used a higher f-stop.

As for the lights on the side of the engine bouncing up and down.......

Have you thought about the fact that perhaps the engine itself is bouncing up and down on the truck springs due to some uneven track?:confused:

That would explain why the streaks of white lights are bouncing while the background and the signals are not.

crazytiger 09-01-2010 12:45 AM

That is possible, but it seems to me that that would be a long way (a good 4-6 inches or more) for it to bounce and also a little fast. Think about it, this was a 1/2 sec exposure. That's what makes me say no.

coborn35 09-01-2010 02:11 AM

Doesn't look like a tripod jiggle too me. It doesn't look to me like anything is really blurred but the light line. The engines themselves look fine too. You will notice that the white line on the NS engine is straight as an arrow. Were there any crew members outside with lanterns? The walking motion created when carrying a lantern will create streaks exactly like that. I would say that or a walkway light that slightly was bouncing.

John Craft 09-01-2010 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazytiger (Post 120344)
Secondly, WHY DOES MY TRIPOD JITTER!?!?!? I bought my SunPak 6600DX about two months ago at Best Buy. Why does it shake? As evidenced by the above shot, it does so pretty badly. I hung my camera bag from it for the shot.

If that was camera shake due to the tripod, the signals would be affected as well. The 'squiggle' is probably the locomotive 'bouncing' as someone said.

travsirocz 09-01-2010 02:01 PM

To me it looks like he is focused way to near. The leaves in the bottom right corner look sharper than anything else. The locomotive light bounce is fairly common and is neat to see since you don't get to see all the shaking in the day time. Next time focus on the signal bridge since focusing on a blurred train is pointless.

KevinM 09-01-2010 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazytiger (Post 120390)
How, and should I, disable the IS for these shots? For reference, I use a D70.

The folks who indicated that your 55-200mm lens does not have image stabilization were correct. Nikon refers to their image stabilization feature as "VR" or Vibration Reduction. If your lens had it, the letters "VR" would be part of the part number. The VR version of the 55-200mm lens is about $50-75 more than the non-VR version and worth it IMO. On the VR-version, there is a small switch on the left side of the barrel that allows the user to turn the feature on or off. The switch is very similar to the one depicted on the photo of the Canon lens posted earlier in the thread.

As for tripods, I too purchased a lightweight Sunpack Tripod early one. It has its advantages, including the ability to stuff it into a carry-on bag for travel. Unfortunately, if there is any wind, I find it doesn't have the stability needed for good night/low-light photography. I later purchased a Manfrotto 055XB with a grip-lock ballhead. I seldom use the Sunpack now except in museums, where big tripods are often frowned-upon. I had to purchase a bigger suitcase to carry the Manfrotto and am usually forced to check it on the airlines, but it definitely worth the trouble.

If you find yourself enjoying night/low-light photography, you'll probably want something heavier than what you have.

crazytiger 09-08-2010 02:39 AM

FINALLY!!!!! I am seriously SO excited right now because...

[photoid=337136]


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