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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> How would you shoot this scenario....???
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12/07/2007 05:31:47 AM · #1
I thought it would be fun to take my camera out to a festival. The festival was great however my photos weren't! First the scenario

1) Night time
2) Fast moving subjects
3) A bit of fire in some of the shots

My problem

1) I had my Sigma 70-200 it couldn't track the subjects quick enough (if at all), in the near dark, don't think the lens is to blame here.
2) Everything too dark in the viewfinder to use successfully

What I tried (all with the 20D pop up flash)

1) Tried a bit of shooting in manual 1/250s f8 - low success
2) Eventually turned off the autofocus and shot WILDLY in manual focus
3) Upped the ISO to 1600 and aperture to f/16+ to try and compensate for my lack of manual focusing skills in the near dark

Any suggestions or was I always destined for failure!!

cheers
Keith
12/07/2007 05:45:24 AM · #2
Well, I don't know how well it fits your scenario but "zone focusing" is one way to tackle this; instead of trying to track the action (since anyway the viewfinder is too dark to see effectively though), you pick a "zone", a spot, focus on it, and snap a shot whenever anything interesting crosses the zone. Works best with a tripod. Not a very fluid way of working. Good system for, say, drag racing or track racing. I don't know what you were dealing with.

R.
12/07/2007 06:07:08 AM · #3
Thanks for that - interesting stuff. So I suppose you have a circle of 'zone' depending where the action is. I presume for a night scenario or a fast action scenario you'd use a fairly large f-stop to increase the 'focused' area that you have at your disposal.

I put up a couple of pictures my attempts now - don't think I'm odd it is a very traditional Austrian festival. (I'm not into ghosts and ghouls normally!!)

Wikipedia article on Krampus !!
12/07/2007 06:22:30 AM · #4
Here they are....

620339.jpg 620340.jpg 620341.jpg 620342.jpg

any other suggestions for shooting in the near dark.....

cheers
Keith
12/07/2007 09:41:57 AM · #5
Why are you shooting at f8 and f16 in the middle of the night?

If you can't use a flash (forget that popup flash, that's pretty useless) and the subjects are moving, up the ISO, shoot wide open, and hope for the best.

12/07/2007 09:45:10 AM · #6
My thought was if I shot at f2.8- f5.6 then the depth of field would be so minimal the chances of hitting anything in focus was so low - at least if shot at f8+ then I might get a little more flexibility with the manual focusing......

is this logic way off the mark?
12/07/2007 09:49:33 AM · #7
I think you did ok, given the circumstances and every day is a school day when you're a photographer so look at it as a learning experience and the knowledge you learned then will help out in some instances later on in a totally different setting.

The higher your aperture number, the longer shutter speed you'd need. Since you were using the flash, couldn't you use the auto focus with that? on my 400D in low light, the flash blinks off and on a few times so the lens can focus itself. You may have had better luck with using the flash, auto focus, and a bit less than wide open aperture. This would enable you to reduce the ISO (and subseqent noise), have better DOF and better focus.

12/07/2007 10:01:34 AM · #8
Cheers Tez - that night photographing makes me want to go out and find some more Krampi (if thats the plural!!).

When I used the autofocus and the flash, it did all the blinking stuff however the action had moved on by the time it had finished trying to focus.

Message edited by author 2007-12-07 10:02:02.
12/07/2007 10:26:46 AM · #9
Try using the highest ISO you've got -- and use NoiseNinja or similar to clean up the pictures.

If you can, use your flash for AF assist so that you can use a wider aperture. If you have an external flash and the 20D allows it, turn the flash off so just the IR emitter works (this is a custom function on the 5D). Of if you have a 580EX, set it in master mode and turn off the flash.

Get a prime lens (like the 50 f/1.8)

If the action moved past before the camera focused, use one of the predictive AF modes.
12/07/2007 10:38:51 AM · #10
These were shot under very similar circumstances. Just stick the ISO up, wide open (only 2.8 on that lens), and anything from 1/30 to 1/200 - and cope with exposure issues in RAW.

Don't know why you'd want to get rid of the noise myself, but I suppose you could. Flash would kill any sense of the actual light of the occasion and thus the mood.
12/07/2007 10:40:17 AM · #11
******Try using the highest ISO you've got -- and use NoiseNinja or similar to clean up the pictures.

yep did that bit, and NoiseNinja does work wonders!

******If you can, use your flash for AF assist so that you can use a wider aperture. If you have an external flash and the 20D allows it, turn the flash off so just the IR emitter works (this is a custom function on the 5D). Of if you have a 580EX, set it in master mode and turn off the flash.

The 20D has a couple of custom functions, I think you're saying get the flash to help with the AF, as per the blinking flash thing I was discussing with Tez. However, don't actually fire the flash (another custom function) - this might still give me the problem that the subject has moved.

I don't think the predictive AF modes work if they need the flash for AF - or am I wrong with this?

********Get a prime lens (like the 50 f/1.8)

that is a cool answer - I always like an excuse to spend more on camera bits and bobs :)
12/07/2007 10:47:06 AM · #12
Well you can go with a bracket mount flash, but you will certainly lose a ton of the ambiance and the fire. I shoot for a company that does night events almost exclusively and so virtually all my shots are in extremely dark places or worse in dark places with crazy thriller lighting (dance clubs/bars). We use a flash bracket to ensure we aren't getting red eye. We shoot ISO 125 at F11 but as I stated some serious flash. It works and you will get the shots, but the learning curve on the flash (since the company does not buy flash units that are adjusted by the camera (meaning every flash is identical unless you manually adjust the setting) is something you will have to take into account.
12/07/2007 11:03:04 AM · #13
Mike thanks for your comments.

I've got an old Metz 45 CL4 which is a bracket mount flash - bit of a war hammer really.

This might get me back into the highish F-stops, that I was on about at the beginning. Have you got any examples of the sort of shots you're talking about.....

I guess your getting in close to the action to try capture peoples actions /faces etc. more than scene setting shots?

E301

Fantastic images, the only noise I don't like is the red/green stuff, obviously not an issue with these great b&w's.

Were you using your 17-35 tamron? and were you using manual focus, or was the camera/lens able to autofocus?

12/07/2007 11:11:09 AM · #14
Sent you a PM with how to log in and check out the shots I am talking about.
12/07/2007 03:18:28 PM · #15
Also sounds like you need a faster focusing lens. I don't know about Sigma lens, but make sure you get a lens with USM (or what ever Sigma calls it). That'll make focusing faster.

I have the 50 1.8 and it's pretty slow to focus. You might want to spend a little more money and get the 1.4 model with USM.
12/07/2007 03:32:20 PM · #16
I like my 50mm 1.8 but the AF sucks on it in low light.

--------

I haven't read most of this thread, but as far as the popup flash goes, it's useless with the 70-200 lens. It just doesn't have the reach it would take to hit the subjects, where talking 10 feet or less really.

A lot of people spend too little time working with flash, they think it's ungodly or something. Get a decent shoe mount flash and work with it. It doesn't have to be the top of the line.

Start reading //strobist.blogspot.com/ you'll get lots of ideas.

Message edited by author 2007-12-07 15:32:42.
12/07/2007 03:36:09 PM · #17
How would I shoot that scenario. I'd bump my ISO to 3200 and put my 85 1.8 or 135 F2 lens on the camera, and shoot in either AV mode if the scene were really bright to really dim, or I'd shoot in manual if it was pretty even all the way. I'd fire bursts of 3 of each shot and hope one of them was good. I wouldnt shoot raw though as I'm a bit of a jpeg guy myself.

MattO

Edit to add I'd also shoot at either at 1.8-2.2 depending on what SS I could achieve.

Message edited by author 2007-12-07 15:36:57.
12/07/2007 03:45:09 PM · #18
this isn't neccesarily true. balance the flash and what ever ambient light there is available. obviously you're not going to be shooting at 1/200th - more like 1/30th or 1/15th. whatever the meter is telling you for ambient exposure. the flash will light the subject/freeze movement and the long shutter will allow the ambient ambiance to be captured as well. the flash would be set to manual mode.

Originally posted by e301:

Flash would kill any sense of the actual light of the occasion and thus the mood.


Message edited by author 2007-12-07 15:46:12.
12/07/2007 03:57:56 PM · #19
Not exactly your situation, but related: A Short Introduction to Night Photography
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