Night Photography

Have I mentioned how much I love and adore my new camera? My poor children, really I pity them. They thought their life was full of photographical (I’m sure that’s a word, look it up) torture. They didn’t even know the half of it. Now I have different lenses and a dozen new settings to try out.

Poor dears.

Adding to their torment is the fact that Tim is also an avid shutterbug. In fact, truthfully, of the two of us he is the better photographer.

He attributes his steady hand to M-16 marksmanship training.

Um, okay, you got me there, honey.

Here’s a stellar example of our two differing skills, using the night setting on the new camera. Apparently that preset mode uses the flash to capture nearby objects, yet keeps the shutter open long enough to make sense of the darkness. Who knows how those clever camera people do this? Not me, that’s for sure.

saucy chick

Look at that incredible sky! Great shot, Tim!

We’re studying the gospel of John in our Sunday School class — which turns out to be surprisingly relevant to this topic:

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

And then there’s my shot. In all fairness, let me just say that Tim has been rather blurry for the last several weeks … I’ve been trying to get him to see someone about this problem, but you know how men are about medical care …

maybe you should try again

I wonder where I can get some of that marksmanship training. Nikon Boot Camp, here I come!

Happy New Year’s Eve!!

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13 thoughts on “Night Photography”

  1. My new camera has some type of auto-steady feature. I think it’s made for old people.

    Tim, you really ought to see a dr. (lol)

  2. Umm, the contrast between the dark and the glowing objects in your picture are really apparent, Kathy……you just need some more practice that’s all! Love the picture of you though – the sunset is beautiful!!!

  3. So cute, Katherine. Sign me up for marksmen training, too. I do susupect it’s my un-steady hand that leads to fuzzy Marvins. But surely PART of it is his high activity?

    Gorgeous pic of you, K. Love you all. Aunt Kate

  4. Happy Belated Christmas and Happy New Year! Being gone these last two weeks has really caused me to fall behind in my blog reading. I am slowly starting to catch up. I am about 2 weeks behind in your blog and I had no idea what kind of camera you got. I can’t wait to find out . . .
    Out of curiousity . . .what setting did Tim use for the outside shot. I have the Canon EOS Rebel XTI and my night pictures tend to come out blurry too. I am still trying to figure my new camera out. Have blessed New Years EVe and I look forward to catching up with you and your blog today. Emily from SHS

  5. Okay, since it appears Tim isn’t sharing his secrets..I will! :-) Shooting shots in low light or with a telescoping lens means you need either a tripod or REALLY steady hands. Any movement at all – including hitting the shutter button – will make it blurry. The same skills used in shooting photos helps here or so my hubby taught me when I took my handgun class (seriously). ;-) Make sure to pull your arms in tight to your body, take a deep breath, hold it, take the shot. If possible, try to rest your arms against a steady object (tree, car door, even one knee if you are kneeling). Try to push the shutter as slowly & steadily as possible. Let me know how it works!

    LOVE your new camera!!!!

  6. Not only a Great Shot Tim but a GORGEOUS Wife!!!! :) I’d love to have that picture for my ‘friend’s photo wall’!!! One of the family too, please!!! :)

    And don’t worry about the blur… meant to do that, right? Yea, that’s it, it’s art…. :) ha!

  7. In all seriousness, I really do think that rifle accuracy training has helped me to have a steadier hand when taking pictures in low-light conditions. Shooting at a target 300 meters away doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, and so I offer these suggestions:

    1) wherever possible, shoot from a comfortable, supported position. Sometimes I squat, resting both my elbows on my knees, so that my arms don’t have to support the weight of the camera.

    2) As you get ready to take the picture, relax and slowly exhale. Ideally, you’ll take the shot sometime in that peaceful moment after you’ve exhaled, but before you’ve inhaled. If you’re really fussy about your moment, try not to pass out from lack of oxygen.

    3) The actual moment of the shutter opening should come as a surprise — you should be slowly applying pressure to the shutter-release button, so that you don’t actually know when the picture will be taken. This prevents you from jerking the camera in compensative reaction. We used to practice with a dime on the barrel of a rifle — if the dime fell off, it was usually because you knew when it was going to fire and jerked the barrel up to compensate.

    4) For a low-light shot, the shutter will be open for a second or so, maybe longer. This means that you have to be really still between the first and second clicks that your camera makes, since it is during that time that the picture is actually being taken. This is also not a good time to scratch your nose or tap your foot.

    5) Don’t be proud, use a tripod. We’d do this ourselves, except our 14-year-old boy lost a critical part of our tripod while building a windmill, and we need to buy a new one. (A tripod, not a windmill.)

    That’s all I know about low-light shooting. I’m sure a real photographer could do much better, but, hey, this isn’t their blog! :)

  8. OK, looking at this more objectively, there are some factors in Tim’s favor (besides his M-16 marksmanship training) which effected an apparently superior photo.

    Tim was zoomed to only 32mm (vs. 55mm for Kathy’s shot of Tim). This allowed the lens to open up to f4.5 and use an ISO of 500. At the maximum zoom of 55mm the camera had to stop down to f5.6 for Kathy’s shot and choose an ISO of 1600 to allow more light. Letting in more background light caused the sky to lighten up and blur Tim’s face. Tim had the advantage of allowing the subject (Kathy) to be mostly lighted by the flash which stopped the camera motion.

    Any camera motion is magnified by the increased focal length of a zoom lens, which is also part of why the image blurring is more pronounced in the 55mm shot of Tim. What would have worked very well in Kathy’s favor is to use the 55-200mm lens with VR (Vibration Reduction) turned on. Since this lens has an aperature of f4.0-5.6 there also would be the advantage of the wider aperature of f4.0 allowing more light and a lower ISO.

    Another tip to add to those from Lisa and Tim is to use the timer on the camera to take the shot a few seconds after you press the shutter. This gives time for the camera to stabilize and allows the photographer to relax. Most people use the timer only for trying to jump in a group shot or take a self-portrait when alone. It can be very handy for counteracting camera shake as well.

  9. The pictures are so funny. (not you of course….but the fact that he did a splendid job and you….well, it’s not really comparible.)

    and is this really day 365? wow.

  10. Isn’t that the coolest feature? Great photo Tim….um…well Kathy you really can’t be held accountable for Tim’s blurring issues, now can you? Get that man to a doctor. ::snort::

  11. Hey, Kathy! Hope all is well! It’s been a loooong time since I’ve seen your name in my comment box! Everything ok?

    Are you enjoying your new camera?
    I LOVE the pics of your kiddos. Too sweet. And you and Tim, blurry or not, look good too!

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