Camera Settings Challenge 6: Brief

posted June 11th, 2012
Hi everyone! I've agreed and am excited to host the next Camera Settings Challenge. :)

The previous winner was announced here!
http://365project.org/discuss/themes-competitions/12961/camera-settings-5-the-winner

I apologise in advance if I'm not strictly punctual with voting/dates - I have a very busy schedule, but rest assured it will happen in due time. :)

Anyway, enough preamble, on with the challenge for this week!

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Do some of the camera settings intimidate you? Do you want to learn how to develop your photography skills and learn how to use your camera effectively without always going back to the “auto” function? These challenges are for you!

This week’s challenge is...

Night-time outdoor photography!
Your settings will have to be:
- Aperture: preferably f/16-ish (no narrower than f/9)
- Shutter speed: preferably 30 seconds or longer (no shorter than 10 seconds)
- ISO preferably 100 or 200 (no higher than 800)
- Flash: off/none

NOTE 1: You should set your camera to Manual (M) mode in order to lock these settings.

NOTE 2: To get shutter speeds slower than 30 seconds, turn the shutter speed dial all the way to "BULB" - this lets you manually press the shutter button on/off after the desired length of time has elapsed. You must be in Manual mode to do this.

NOTE 3: If you're in Autofocus and you're experiencing focusing issues, get it to focus on something well-lit really far away. Once it locks on, switch to Manual Focus and then don't touch the lens. That way, it stays locked on infinity and shouldn't affect your focus.

You should also have on hand:
- a tripod OR some way to secure your camera so that it doesn't move
- a remote shutter release OR 2-sec self-timer (to prevent camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button)

Explanation:
I love night-time outdoor photography. It's a whole other world and it's something I have really begun to explore and enjoy. It's not something I'm a seasoned expert at per se, but I was lucky enough to go on a night-time photography course back in 2010 and I picked up a few helpful tips there (which are basically those settings above!), and have been practising and expanding on ever since.

Of course, the settings aren't exact and depend on what you're shooting, but they're the settings I stick to generally when shooting at night. :)

Helpful links: http://www.best-family-photography-tips.com/night-time-photography-tips.html

Examples of mine:







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Experienced photographers who are knowledgeable in this particular setting are encouraged to offer “kind and constructive” suggestions on the posted entries. Those entering this challenge want to learn and improve.

This challenge starts today (lasts 4 ½ days), and ends Friday, 15th June 12:00pm Central Standard Time (17:00 Zulu time http://www.zulutime.net) All photos must be taken during these dates to be considered. TAG YOUR PHOTO CSC-6 AND post your picture in this thread to receive feedback from other experienced photographers specific to this challenge.

Voting will take place Saturday, 16th June (and remain open 24 hours) and the winner will be announced Sunday 17th June. The winner of the challenge will select an experienced photographer to host a new challenge. It is the winner’s option on who they want to host the next challenge; it may be someone they follow whose work they admire, or someone who is active offering suggestions on previous CSC challenges. The winner may also select an experienced photographer for the list of photographers who have agreed to host future challenges as another option. Here is the link to that list: http://365project.org/myhrhelper/365/2011-12-12

Expect to receive constructive suggests on how to improve your skills.

How to post your photo on this link:
1) Go to your page that has the photo you wish to post.
2) Copy the “share” code in the bottom right section of that page.
3) Return to this thread and paste the code under comments

Stretch your skills and have fun!
posted June 11th, 2012
Oooh, exciting! I will definitely try this but have to see where I can get a remote shutter release from first =)
posted June 11th, 2012
Maybe for those who don't yet have tripods and remote cables we should throw in here that a bean bag makes a really stable mount and that most cameras have a delay setting for the shutter. These are simply creative ways to get around shortages of equipment. (and if you don't have a beanbag try rice in a small bag..even plastic bags will work...I've often done this while travelling light)
posted June 11th, 2012
cool challenge, unfortunately there is pretty much no night here in Finland right now :)
posted June 11th, 2012
@traeumerlein87
I got my remote from e-bay for less than 4 dollars, and free postage!! It works a treat, but prior to that I used the self timer button (10 sec delay)
posted June 11th, 2012
Awesome challenge! I will learn from this :)
I was going to get a remote shutter, this will hurry me up .
posted June 11th, 2012
Oh I am very excited about this challenge. Don't have a remote but I have a tripod. Thank you Sue @swilde for the helpful hints with lack of equipment. This will be a learning experience for sure! @pocketmouse Thank you so much for hosting this awesome challenge!
posted June 11th, 2012
@pocketmouse - My D300's lowest native ISO is 200. For those of us with that native ISO, is that acceptable for this challenge? Nikon goes further to add some -1/3 settings to, probably, simulate 100 ISO but it's not identified as 100 ISO. (Hope that makes some sort of sense)

I'm assuming this sentence - "Of course, the settings aren't exact and depend on what you're shooting, but they're the settings I stick to generally when shooting at night. :)" gives us that bit of leeway, but wanted to make sure.
posted June 11th, 2012
Are these settings the rules or suggestions? My bridge camera doesn't allow for those f stops or that shutter.
posted June 11th, 2012
Will have to get a 100 film - I have 200 film will that do? My digital camera only allows 4 seconds.
posted June 11th, 2012
If you don't have a remote, you can also use the self timer.
posted June 11th, 2012
@onie Bought! Though in a shop and a little more expensive. Had a lot of fun with it already, haha. So much more shooting selfies with remote than with self timer!

@monika64 Hurry up then ;) I got one today and it is FUN!!!!
posted June 12th, 2012
I had posted a photo that I took last night, but I pulled it. I took it at F/4, instead of within the F/9 - F/16 range. I'll have to go back out and try for more. ;-)
posted June 12th, 2012
@myhrhelper try raising your iso
posted June 12th, 2012
@myhrhelper no flash. how high did you raise the ISO? How dark is it outside? What are your other settings?
posted June 12th, 2012
@myhrhelper AH she meant 30 seconds. Your exposure is too fast, you're doing less than a second and that is why your pictures are dark... You want to let more light in. Also, if you don't have a remote shutter release (like me), use your timer. Mine will set for 2 secs or 10 secs before it goes off. I have no problem getting my hand off the camera in under 2 secs so I use that one.
posted June 12th, 2012
@myhrhelper Hi Kathy - 1/320 and 1/3200 are both fractions of seconds (ie: 1/320 = 0.003125sec). A setting of 30sec should show up on the camera as 30". Hope that helps.
posted June 12th, 2012
@spiralgrooves Thanks! I was able to find the 30" but didn't see it at first so I was confused.
posted June 12th, 2012
@pschtyckque cool :) the reason why I recommend those apertures (f/9 or narrower) is that the narrower you go, the more likely you are to get cool starburst shapes out of points of light :)
posted June 12th, 2012
Here's are a few images I took a couple of weeks ago with long exposure. Sharing it here because I took it two weeks ago and it won't be eligible for this challenge








posted June 12th, 2012
@swilde @onie @myhrhelper @mikehamm @tigerdreamer @jsw0109

Everyone, thanks for your interest in this challenge and for the questions, and sorry that my brief was confusing! (And yes, 30+ refers to 30 seconds or more!) I'll just answer questions that have come up, and also amend the brief to include this information :)

Flash? No flash. You want to just use the natural light.

Can I go a different ISO? Yes, but please stick to 800 or less. Preferably 100-200. The purpose of this challenge is to make use of the long exposure, and for that your ISO should be at the lower end.

Can I go a wider aperture? Yes, but I would still prefer f/9 or higher, because a) it'll reduce glare, and b) you can achieve quite cool starburst-like effects with points of light at narrower apertures, and that's part of the purpose of this challenge :)

Do I have to use a tripod? Nope - anything that ensures your camera will remain steady and not move a MILLIMETRE will suffice - a bean bag has been suggested and if that works, go with it!

Do I have to use a shutter release? Nope! I should have mentioned that the self-timer is an excellent alternative - a tiny bit more time consuming, but achieves the same thing :)

posted June 12th, 2012
@tigerdreamer I would say they're the rules - are you sure your camera doesn't have a Manual mode that lets you set all of these things yourself?
posted June 12th, 2012
@la_photographic I'm afraid I have next to no experience with film cameras - does your camera let you go to BULB mode where you can completely control the shutter speed past the maximum of 4 seconds? Unfortunately this challenge does require quite lengthy exposure times, in the order of 10 seconds or more.
posted June 12th, 2012
@pocketmouse I will have to check but yes I think it does have a Bulb setting.
posted June 12th, 2012
@abhijit That argyle cut shot is sick!
posted June 12th, 2012
@myhrhelper Flash won't help here. Think about last week...extend your time. Run around the block and if you get back before the shot is done...you're about right.
posted June 12th, 2012
@spiralgrooves Thanks Neil
posted June 12th, 2012
@pocketmouse I'm good with the F/9+ challenge portion. And I can't wait to give it a try! :-)
posted June 13th, 2012
Really interesting!! I'm not going to participate because this days I have to study a lot (final exams), so I cannot spend too much time here :( :( or with the camera (my "shit" pics show this days progresion xD)
Good luck for all!!
posted June 13th, 2012
Ok you have to try this one! Wow, once you have it figured out it is sooo fun!
This is NOT a great shot but I like some of the effects regardless. I do welcome and ask for feedback. I do know the subject of the shot itself is kind of boring.

Mixed Messages - Is the light Red OR Green? I like the car ghosts, streak of lights. I do want some feedback on what to do to make it better with this type of setting.


posted June 13th, 2012
I just noticed this weeks challenge, and it's perfect for me as I'm doing some slow shutter speed shots for my photography course portfolio. So any feedback is welcome, please!!





posted June 13th, 2012

My only chance at some night photography for this challenge. It was dark enough that I did find it very difficult to focus. I was advised that having "Live view" is a good option on a camera. Mine does not have it...but perhaps this is a place that it would be good to have?
posted June 13th, 2012
Oh and for those of you trying this out, see if you can set your self timer to 2 secs rather than 10. My camera lets me choose and it's far less time consuming setting it to 2 secs!
posted June 13th, 2012
Those are fabulous shots! :) @abhijit
posted June 13th, 2012
@kiwichick Those are nice!! Did you use a ND filter for the daytime ones? I was going to make this a daytime long exposure but figured not many people would have ND filters, so I decided to go for night time instead :)
posted June 13th, 2012
@pocketmouse Yes it does have a Bulb setting and took several photos last night on 200 film. Will have to finish film and get it processed so hopefully there will be 1 which is usable.
posted June 13th, 2012
This is my other attempt near where I live. Not a lot of lighted spots.
Again it was only meant as a learning shot NOT to take a great picture.
Tonight I am going closer to Milwaukee area after church and I hope to find something a bit more interesting. My husband is going with me and has a good eye.

For a shot like this it seems a bit too glarrie to me - what would get changed the aperture or the shutter speed (staying within the challenge range)?

posted June 13th, 2012
@pocketmouse Thanks Teresa. Actually they are all after sunset but I overexposed the stump one. Yes I was using an ND filter, it has just arrived so I was having a play with it. I've just realised the second one was only 8 secs though...
posted June 14th, 2012
@myhrhelper I would say narrow the aperture a bit more - f/16 or higher? And if it's still too bright everywhere, then shorten the shutter speed to like 20 seconds.
posted June 14th, 2012
@myhrhelper In fact, go crazy with the aperture - go as narrow as the camera will let you! Mine goes to f/22 or f/25 (can't remember off the top of my head) so try that first. :)
posted June 14th, 2012
Tried to stick within your parameters. Only change I made was a tiny rotation, and conversion to b&w. My tripod wasn't high enough for the pov, so I had to do a balancing act on a nearby cardboard box.
posted June 14th, 2012
Feedback is welcome.
It looks best when viewed large.


posted June 14th, 2012
Would really like to know how to do something similar but better and without having to go to BW - mine came out very orange - even after playing with white balance



posted June 14th, 2012
Was kind of happy with this one but I find it really hard to focus?

posted June 14th, 2012
@saranna Yes, focusing!! Something else I forgot to mention. I'll edit the brief to include that info :)
posted June 14th, 2012
@saranna See note 3 :)
posted June 14th, 2012
@myhrhelper Nice job!!! You got some really nice starbursts on those lights!
posted June 14th, 2012
@pocketmouse Thanks Teresa! I had it on Manual otherwise that ridiculous light goes off that tries to light the subject and it just whirrs back and forth- think my eyes are just dodgy lol
posted June 14th, 2012
This isn't brilliant (plus it's not at night, but in a dark tunnel!) but I still like it.

posted June 14th, 2012
Well, not night time and not outdoors. I'm home sick today so I tried this just as a bit of fun. It's an oscillating fan with a red light lighting the wall behind it. A bit abstract, I think.
F16, 15 seconds, ISO200.


posted June 15th, 2012
@mikehamm Hope you are feeling a little better. Even if you don't have the night time to practice it's good to practice any way you can. Love the abstract design
posted June 15th, 2012
@myhrhelper - Thanks, Kathy. I agree. Any practice is good practice.
posted June 15th, 2012
This is mine. It's not great but when I had trouble figuring out how to use the cable release. There was 1 sharper but it also had more shadow. This image was taken at 11.45pm on Tuesday 12th June.

posted June 15th, 2012
30sec, 100iso, f16
posted June 16th, 2012
This looks like a fun challenge. I had to sit this one out because of surgery, but I'm excited to see the finalists!
posted June 16th, 2012
I'm sorry I missed this one also. Looks like a great challenge. Just got back from one graduation and head out to another next week. I see some great entries, can't wait to see the finalists.
posted June 16th, 2012
I realise I am too late, but here is my attempt. I couldn't quite hit the right settings with my camera but I used the narrowest aperture I could, and the longest shutter. Below is the best photo I managed...But I never did manage to get star-bursts on the lights. Is it because the aperture still isn't narrow enough? I had real trouble getting the photos sharp. I used a bag of rice, but it must have still been moving! Either that or it was too hard for the camera to focus in the low light.

I was wondering if anyone knew why the lower photo never came out sharp? I'm not sure if it is movement, or focus...or just blurring because of the high contrast? Thanks in advance for any help/critique :)



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