My first 'night pictures'


Link Posted 11/01/2009 - 13:12
I took first 'night' pictures in my life The camera was on a tripod, in B mode, shutter was manually released and hold - but I have no remote yet. It was quite dark, but moon was almost full. These three have been taken with 7, 12 and 17 seconds.

This one is quite dark:

Little zoom-in, longer time:

This looks like taken at the dawn:

Any advices / comments are welcome - there are so many things to learn
Kind regards,
Michal R. Hoffmann
K20D, DA 16-45mm, A 50mm F/1:1.4, DA 55-300mm; flash Pentax AF240Z


Link Posted 11/01/2009 - 14:22
You really need a remote for this kind of photography if you are using bulb setting because holding it down can induce some movement, which seems evident here to me.
Your exposures are not that long though that you need to use the B setting, you do not say which camera you have but at 17 seconds max you could set the shutter to your required time and use the 2 second timer to put the mirror up before the shutter opens therefore removing the likelihood of vibration.

From a photographic point of view to be honest im not really sure what you are trying to photograph unless its just a test shot. The pole in the foreground is out of focus and yet distracting,there is no point of interest in the photo.
You may have been better getting away from all the enclosed gardens and going out into the fields.
Keep it up though, this is only my inexperienced point of view.

Oh correction I see you have K20d, no problem with 2 second timer then
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Last Edited by SteveT on 11/01/2009 - 14:23


Link Posted 11/01/2009 - 15:08
Thanks, Steve. Yes, this was a test shooting - to see what I'll get and what can be improved. I have quite small yard behind the house, so I just found the best place I could in there. I wanted to see how the moon will look on the photo - it was surprisingly small

How can I set long time exposure? I found I can set in in big steps, but not that precisely, just 10 - 15 - 20 - 30, nothing in between. That was the reason I did it in B mode.

Is it better to use longer time, lower (100 or 200) ISO or higher ISO (400 or 800), shorter time?
Kind regards,
Michal R. Hoffmann
K20D, DA 16-45mm, A 50mm F/1:1.4, DA 55-300mm; flash Pentax AF240Z


Link Posted 11/01/2009 - 15:55
Well, I am no expert and may be corrected but first I would use as low an iso as possible to keep noise to a minimum, though I have found no problems up to iso 400 and 800 is acceptable. But I have not used much higher iso's and would favour longer exposure or bigger aperture if the shot would take that. Higher iso's are (imo) for when you have no choice like when you must have a high enough shutter speed to avoid moton blur like at an indoor sporting event or something when you cannot use flash.

My experience of low light is in total darkness using flash or painting light and you can aford to experiment with your exposures.

However I guess to get inbetween your 15 and 20 seconds you could alter your aperture in the menu so that it is in third stops and then select say 20 seconds and close down 1 or 2 thirds to get your equivalent exposure.
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R o b

Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 14:06
I was out doing something similar last night. As you say, the moon always ends up looking so small. I also couldn't get the moon correctly exposed without everything else being really dark.

I'd temporarily (fortunately not permanently) lost my remote, so I tried out something I'd read here. I tried every button on the TV/Video/DVD remotes until I found one that fires the shutter, then just used that.

As for longer time vs shorter, it may depend on how much wind there is. On a still night you could go for a longer shutter time, but if there are clouds or trees moving that's harder.



Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 16:42
Hi Michal,
When it comes to night photography, think minutes instead of seconds.
Unless you want to shoot the moon alone, of course. For buildings, street scenes at night or land/sea scapes select low ISO, like ISO 100, a small aperture like f11-f16, use bulb (with remote) and start from 30 sec, and than double that.So 30,60,120, 240......(it all depends on the scene. For examples look here or here.

Good luck,

Best regards,


Curious about my photography?? Just Follow the Light.


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 16:47
I also have been working on night-exposures recently. I did one at ten minutes f/8 the other day and I really liked it.

One thing that does annoy however is the darned camera takes double the exposure time to create the image.. ie you set exposure for 60 seconds, the shutter opens 60 seconds and then 60 seconds to wait for picture to be "processed" in camera. I thought I had it when I turned off the auto noise reduction on long exposures setting but it didn't seem to have any effect.. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

BTW I am using the SS GX20, so it could be possible it works differently to the K20D.


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 16:58
Nice shot Ewen, I like it a great deal.

I have no idea why the camera does that, it is really annoying though. I keep thinking the thing has hung!

Best wishes, Kris.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 17:29
Nice shot with great detail, might give it ago myself.


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 17:58
Last one great shot but personally I would have cloned out the " No Tipping " sign
K100D Super,DA 55-300.


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 18:25
I think the sign adds something, would've been better had there been an old washing machine lying below the sign though!
I also love the shadows criss crossing the foreground !

Did you run any noise reduction software Ewan? looks very clean at this size.
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Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 19:26
Ooh, I was wondering what to do this evening, think I'll have a play! My second ever night exposure:

K100D + Cosinon 55/1.4, 15s @ f16, ISO 800. Gave it a slight tint and contrast increase for a kind of mono feel. Illumination was from a single 60w bulb under the car port.

Nothing worth writing home about, but I feel inspired for more after dark photography!


Link Posted 12/01/2009 - 22:56
Martin: Thanks - I have to try it out. Well, I have to get a remote first, and I'd prefer if it wasn't raining all the time

Ewen - your night picture is great (if not a bit spooky) - and the sign gives it a 'modern' touch
Kind regards,
Michal R. Hoffmann
K20D, DA 16-45mm, A 50mm F/1:1.4, DA 55-300mm; flash Pentax AF240Z


Link Posted 13/01/2009 - 08:36
Thanks for the positive comments on my "no tipping". In answer to the question from RR. I didn't run anything on the image just converted to mono with auto-grayscale and exported to JPEG from RAW.

.. an old washing machine would have been a good addition. Think I can fit one in a Lowepro 200 bag?
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