Old 03-08-2014, 02:02 AM   #1
Missabefan
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Default More "How To" advice needed than anything

Group,

This photo was dinged for "underexposed" and "undersharpened"

http://railpictures.net/viewreject.p...93&key=5793724

So I attempted to lighten and sharpen.

Ding! Noise rejection.

http://railpictures.net/viewreject.p...19&key=5388223

Now, I "think" this photo looks way better the darker it is. But who am I.

So.... What I'm asking is, what is the best way to get rid of noise.
I am using PSE 10 and have been using "reduce noise" but what settings are the best when using that? Especially for night shots like this.
Shot at F-4, ISO 200, exposure bias +7, and an exposure of 73 seconds trying to capture a meteor.
Where it went wrong was the street light that came on.

I'm not sure this is even salvageable but I'd like to know how to successfully reduce the noise on night shots nonetheless.

Thanks, guys, in advance.
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:14 AM   #2
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"Shot at F-4,"

In my opinion (and Jimbo is going to disagree) that is your problem.

Because the depth of field is so shallow, the signals and the tree line are blurry, so when you sharpen it, the image gets noisy.

Since the camera is on a tripod and things are not moving too fast, you could have shot it at f-11 (my preference) or even F-7 and only slightly increased your exposure time.

Course star streaking might be something you are trying to limit, so that would also cause you to not use such a high f-stop.

And now for Jim's take on this.......
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:18 AM   #3
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Night shots = little room for error with exposure. You were underexposed and paid for it in post process. I shot for meteors with my crop bodies at iso 1600, at f2.8 with the proper exposure time to prevent star trail. The slightly blurry stars are a turn off. Either shoot a short enough exposure to freeze them, or go all out for a lengthy streak.

For noise removal on the crop bodies, I would hit the raw file in adobe raw editor with my 10 rule (iso 100 - 10 luminance, iso 200 - 20, iso 400 - 30, iso 800 - 40 iso 1600 - 50). This did just fine if the exposure was close to right.

The name of the game at night (and especially for 99.8% of photography of celestial objects) is light gathering, so disregard the f8-f11 idea as suggested above. Well, unless you're shooting the moon.

Now I'm out the door to find a hole in the fog to shoot the milky way through.

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Old 03-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #4
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And now for Jim's take on this.......
All depends on how dark it is and what the subject is.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Now I'm out the door to find a hole in the fog to shoot the milky way through.

Loyd L.
You're always doing Milky Way's. Shooting a Snickers or Three Musketeers.....Now that would be impressive!

Here is a good exposure guide for night photography

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:57 AM   #6
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I originally set out to try and capture a meteor streaking across the sky and have a RR element on the ground. I wanted to try and limit the amount of star streaking so if a meteor did happen, you could tell.

So.... What's a good starting point on the camera for trying something like this. Just using the natural light available and getting acceptable/good results.

I have a Nikon D90 so I'm sorta limited. ( hey, somebody has to have the smallest ) And I was NOT shooting in RAW. I hear people grabbing pitchforks already.


P.S. Thanks for the exposure guide. Didn't see it while I was typing my post.

Last edited by Missabefan; 03-09-2014 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
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Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth. I claim to be no expert in night photography, but have dabbled a little. If you are not using a tripod, just stop now, dont bother.

There are 2 types of night photography: flash assisted, or not

For no flash:
1. focusing: good luck if it's truly so dark that autofocus wont work, you are going to just have to guess and hope you nail it. If you have time and a laptop, you can do trial and error. If you have a modern body with live view it helps. A LOT. The body I tend to use when doing night stuff is a 5d1 which dont have live view.
2. Aperture: 2 schools of thought here. Wide aperture to catch as much light as possible (low F stop as posible), or small aperture to get more depth of field and to kind of mask the fact that your focus might be off. Depending on how much ambient light there is (moon, nearby lights of some kind), you can sometimes get by with an F8-F11 aperture and a long exposure. The problem with this is it's gonna be a LONG exposure. Star trails happen, which you may or may not like. Light sources (signals) will look washed out a a result
3. Exposure: Once you pick your aperture, you have to pick the rest of the exposure. And here it depends on your gear. If you have a camera that handles high aperture well without introducing a shitload of noise (ISO1200+), go for it. Otherwise you are stuck in ISO100-200 land with long exposures.

With Flash:
1. Focusing: should not be a problem, you can use flash assist for focusing
2. Aperture: Should be able to do F8 or so without an issue if you want.
3. Exposure: You can do an exposure of a few seconds to get a good sky, then pop the flash and light your subject or fill flash quickly

So the bottom line is, it depends on a lot of stuff: your gear, if you are using a flash or not, the ambient light, etc...
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:51 PM   #8
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MY own preference for a night shot is that it should look like it was shot at night.


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Now, I think there is something off here with the final results, but maybe it might be just me.
Other than it being unlevel, I dont see anything wrong with it.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:05 PM   #9
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F stop is not the issue here, its out of focus plain and simple,something helpful that I've learned is to auto focus on a light, the signal bulb or a headlight of a stopped train will do. Thats the only quick way I've found, never had good luck manual focusing even with live view.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:20 PM   #10
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something helpful that I've learned is to auto focus on a light, the signal bulb or a headlight of a stopped train will do. Thats the only quick way I've found, never had good luck manual focusing even with live view.
I agree 100%. Live view helps alot, but manual focusing at night is a crap shoot. One thing I have tried, with limited success, I have one of those 10 billion candlepower hand held spotlights for a boat that plugs into a ciggarette lighter, you can use it to hit focus on something, then set it back to manual. In theory that freezes focus. But sometimes it's not enough light to lock focus or the focus can change as the lens stops down to expose. It's really hit or miss. In situations where there is a full moon, it really helps, you would be surprised how much light you can pick up with something like a 50/1.4 wide open. And if you are taking a shot at any sort of distance, depth of field does not really come into play AS MUCH.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:20 PM   #11
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I have had trouble in the past with auto focus when it's dark and a decent distance from something "solid" hence the manual focus here.
There are times for me when the camera just will not pick up anything and focus in auto. What's the trick??
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MassArt Images View Post
You're always doing Milky Way's. Shooting a Snickers or Three Musketeers.....Now that would be impressive!

Here is a good exposure guide for night photography

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
Thanks for the link. And I love this quote:

Quote:
What you need to remember is that, within each factor, as you move from one number to the next, the amount of light is either doubled or halved. Some cameras may include numbers between the numbers mentioned above. Those numbers represent half or third stops. For the purpose of what you are learning here, ignore the in-between numbers.
That's kind of what I live by when shooting.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #13
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MY own preference for a night shot is that it should look like it was shot at night.


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What exactly about that photo is an example of your preference? And what appear to be stars in the sky are actually snow flakes being illuminated by the flash, right?
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:32 AM   #14
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What exactly about that photo is an example of your preference? And what appear to be stars in the sky are actually snow flakes being illuminated by the flash, right?
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Chase's photo. Fine photo.
And, Right.

When I first looked at Chase's photo last night, there appeared, to me anyway, that there was something "funky" going on in the sky in the right half of the photo especially above the second unit. Be it the red from the signal or something else I thought I saw something weird going on. That being said if no one else sees anything then maybe there is nothing there to see.
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Old 03-09-2014, 02:14 PM   #15
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I always manual focus at night. My tricks are as follows:

Live view on 10x view
Concentrated beam flashlight at at least 300 lumens on the subject.
Using a light source around the scene (signal bulb, street lamp, etc) that's the approximate distance of what I'm trying to shoot.
Or in the case of none of the above, I crank the iso and do test shots while doing slight focus adjustments until it's right (generally takes me less than 4 minutes).

And my best trick - Using a lens with a true infinity focus point. With my crop bodies, I used the Tokina 11-16 a lot, because infinity focus was truly correct, unlike that beyond region most Canon lenses have.

If you're attempting to incorporate celestial and ground subjects, you'll have to work with available artificial lighting, or make your own.

Using the street lights:


Using my external Flash:


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Old 03-09-2014, 07:39 PM   #16
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Using the street lights:
Loyd, the foliage in that shot looks truly horrid. The rest is good.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:07 PM   #17
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You take what you get.

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Old 03-10-2014, 01:39 AM   #18
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I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Chase's photo. Fine photo.
And, Right.
Oh for F's sake, I didn't even notice that wasn't your shot. I thought your were posting one of your shots as an example of your preference, hence my question.

Quote:
When I first looked at Chase's photo last night, there appeared, to me anyway, that there was something "funky" going on in the sky in the right half of the photo especially above the second unit. Be it the red from the signal or something else I thought I saw something weird going on. That being said if no one else sees anything then maybe there is nothing there to see.
I don't see the minor color issue that you're noticing in Chase's shot. Looks fine to me.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:56 AM   #19
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At night if there is enough light I will zoom my live view way in and focus on whatever the subject is. Makes it a hell of a lot easier than trying to see if its sharp overall.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:29 AM   #20
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Other than it being unlevel, I dont see anything wrong with it.
Not only is the photo gone but the quote is too? where did it go?
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