Old 09-27-2007, 09:12 AM   #1
Arne H. B.
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Default Night shot help needed

It's been a while since I posted for any help before getting a rejection first! I wanted to ask if there is a way to shoot a fast moving train at night without so much motion blur? I made a few attempts earlier tonight at a fairly well lit station but the only way I could get the lights bright enough to see any detail was to slow down the shutter speed a lot (about 1/30th I think maybe slower) but that didn't work and the version here had to be brightened a little in photoshop which I don't like to do because noise begins to show up in shaded areas. Is higher ISO the answer or am I looking for something that doesn't exist? There are lots of pics on RP that have motion blur, I've just never been a fan of it in my own pictures. Any advice!?
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:46 PM   #2
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I'm eager to hear what others have to offer on this topic, because this is something I've wondered about as well.

But from my limited knowledge, a subject either gives off or reflects light (or both). So when photographing an essentially dark, essentially nonreflective subject like a freight, moving thru a well lit passenger station, you're relying primarily on reflected light. And the freight isn't reflecting much. Plus, it's moving, and your goal is for it to appear stationary. And the station lighting is doing far more to illuminate the platforms than to illuminate thr train.

I'm guessing you've played with diff exposures with a wide aperture, tho you risk having the station lights overpowering your shot. Short of rigging up your own flash array trackside (which the cops would love), I'm not sure what you could do to increase the shutter speed enough to freeze motion.

I do wonder how a passenger train, which both emits light and is a better reflector, would appear using the same settings used for the freight shot. Of course, if the passenger train is stopped, you can get a good 4-sec exposure without having to worry about blur.
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:20 PM   #3
Wade H. Massie
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Yeah, stop-action night shots of moving trains is just about impossible without numerous flashes or studio strobes. Best bet would be to shoot passenger trains stopped at a station, or freights at a busy junction where they're often stopped waiting for clearance.

Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:21 PM   #4
Mike B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade H. Massie
Best bet would be to shoot passenger trains stopped at a station, or freights at a busy junction where they're often stopped waiting for clearance.

Good luck!
That's what I've done for most of my night shots. Unless you supply some light, there just isn't enough light to get the shutter up to a good speed. I have one night shot of two trains meeting and one train is blurred while the other is sharp. Kind of a cool effect.

I shot this at f/4.5 for 13 seconds:
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:39 PM   #5
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Hey Arne, I've actually shot a moving train at Millbrae station where you took your photo. The train I shot was a special and it was moving slower than regular trains through the area. I'd say it was going about 25mph. For my settings I boosted the ISO up to 500, had my shutter speed set to 1/40th, and my aperture was set to 3.5 which is the most I can open this lens up. When you
want to shoot a moving train at night you're going to need to set your ISO to
a much higher setting.

Hope this helps,
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:53 PM   #6
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That was a really cool shot Alex. Nicely done.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:09 PM   #7
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Arne,

take advantage of the lights in the station. Boost up your ISO to 1000 or 1250 and the light will fill in most of the dark places. You will have to deal with alot less noise than you think. Also bring down your aperture to around f/4, or lower. Everything doesn't have to be in focus. I personally like the motion blur, it takes what would otherwise be a static image and really adds to it.

Good luck, make sure to post your next couple tries, I would ove to see what you come up with.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:58 PM   #8
Arne H. B.
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Thanks for all the advice from everyone, now I have a few ideas to try next time. I will post any new pics that I manage to get right. Maybe the freight train won't work out at this location, it's moving too fast I suppose. Caltrain does stop here and I got a couple of semi-decent shots of them. One going away shot looked properly exposed to me but it was on the wrong side of the platform, I can walk to the other side though and cut out the fence. However I will get the same angle as the freight train too only I will wait for a stopped caltrain. This one was 1/6th of a second.
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