Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hey, Gang, Here's A Photo Tip!

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Citygarden Christmas Eve 1

I get a lot of email photography newsletters. Most of them are deleted because I don't remotely have the time to read them. I would if I were not a photo addict, but then I wouldn't have a reason to subscribe to them, but I am so I can't get around to them. You can see the self-defeating nature of the proposition.

Sometimes the title of a message will get my attention. I saw one a couple of weeks ago about shooting outdoor Christmas decorations, something I have been spectacularly bad at. The problem, it explained, is that if you do this in full darkness (and I usually did) you might expose the glowing lights correctly but the surrounding areas would be pitch black. You have no context. Better to shoot between sunset and complete darkness. If it's clear you get beautiful color on the sky and a good sense of whatever is around the lights. They look great when it's just dark enough for them to stand out.

So I tried it in Citygarden during my Christmas Eve shoot. Works great. The email also recommended use of a tripod but my camera has very little noise at ISO 800 or 1600 so I did without. It also suggested using tungsten white balance but I prefer to adjust the color temperature in Bridge or Lightroom for better fine control. Yesterday's post used the same technique. I think it worked out pretty good.

Citygarden Arch Christmas Eve 1

14 comments:

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I agree with your observation about the advantage of shooting lighted night subjects when there is not yet total darkness in the sky. Except, of course, if you are trying to include stars in the night sky in the photo, as Julie and I did this past weekend with some night photos of Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, just before sunrise.

Olivier said...

Je suis d'accord les meilleures heures sont avant la nuit ou juste avant le lever du soleil, la lumiere est plus belle et plus douce. Par contre je suis d'accord avec votre interlocuteur , je préfère travailler avec un trépied (quand je peux , et Evry est tres peu eclairée ), je trouve que le resultat est meilleur (mais c'est moins spontané).
Vos photos d'illumination sont tres belles

cieldequimper said...

Yes, yes, yes absolutely, I've noticed too. The problem is I don't always have the possibility to take photos before it's completely dark. These turned out really well!

Bibi said...

Good advice. I sort of discovered this myself by accident. Much better just before it's dark!

s.c said...

I must admit you did a perfect job and in the second one even the arc in the background. Thanks for the tip.

brattcat said...

i concur, counselor.

VP said...

A nuit américaine of sort. You did it very well, I am not good at night shots but I am willing to try this trick soon.

T. Becque said...

Great tip and it looks as if you've accomplished your goal as these are very fine evening shots of Christmas lights!

Birdman said...

Thanks for some added hints.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Sometimes it's good to follow advice, amazing that you took these without a tripod, well done Bob.

Jack said...

A good tip, one that I have not yet followed on my own. Let's see if I remember it next year.

Virginia said...

I bow to the Master.
V

Nathalie said...

You've managed to put this excellent piece of advice to practice in a gorgeous way. The Xmas decorations really stand out against the deep blue (and not black) sky.

Nathalie said...

Will need to try this one day. Your photos really prove your point.