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Exposure compensation for eveningnight photos

saspencr

Well-Known Member
another beginner question. assuming that the light meter doesn't get fooled, should i adjust the exposure compensation in a night scene to make it look like a night scene and not like it was shot during the day? could someone explain this and give me some guidelines? thanks, scott
 
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mikel

Ahh, it's kind of complicated to explain in short post. Your best route might be to do some reading on
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first. There is quite a bit of interesting information there. I personally rarely shoot night-time scenes (I'm not really good at it), so I can't really give a first-hand-experience kind of advice here.

Mike.
 
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writing4me

Hi Scott, I've been playing around with sunset shots lately. They aren't my strong suit, but I am getting better at it. I can give you a little advice. First, when you meter an evening shot, like sunset or shortly after, your meter will try to make it look like a mid-tone, rather than dark. If you listen to what your reading tells you, you'll end up with what you probably don't want. In my case, my sunset colors in the sky would disappear if I went with a straight meter reading, because my scene gets over exposed. I've been playing around with stopping down about 1 stop or 2 stops (or somewhere in between) and seeing what works best. If you do this a few times, you'll get a feeling for what looks right to your own eyes. One hint, if you're shooting night scenes, you can often get a better shot while there is still some remnant light in the sky from the sun, it gives you a little more definition to objects. Of course, this works for the subjects I'm after - I don't know if maybe you have a different goal than I do. I've been shooting scenic stuff, horses in pastures, farm scenes, etc as the sun is disappearing, up to about 15 minutes after sunset. This has been especially fun on those great nights when the hazy cloud cover brings the pinks of the sunset all the way through to the eastern sky. Hope this helps! Keep asking questions - there are some really nice people on the list here who will help you out. -Lynn
 

dhr001

Member
I had some quite successful shots of the nightlife on the Singapore river recently with my T3. I used Fuji NPZ800, a tripod, stopped it down to f16 and used the self timer to trigger. I bracketed it a stop either way using the exposure compensation. From the sound of the shutter the exposures would have been around 5 - 10 seconds. I wish I'd used the night-portrait-mode flash though to fill in a bit of foreground detail. Hope that helps! David
 

jc3

Member
>Hi Lynn, Your comments on compensation for evening/night photography seems to me very encouraging. I've up to now stayed away from this type of shooting. Since you've made it so simplified, I dare to venture at it.

Thanks a lot. john
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
> another beginner question. assuming that the light meter doesn't get> fooled, should i adjust the exposure compensation in a night scene to> make it look like a night scene and not like it was shot during the > day? could someone explain this and give me some guidelines? thanks,

If you're shooting in Auto , then yes , almost certainly you should be compensating to avoid the meter trying to make your scene look like daylight - depending on the scene [ie how much ambient and artificial light their is] , one or two stops down should normally do it I find . To be on the safe side you should bracket though!! Timing can also be critical , sometimes you can get very good results by shooting a half hour or so after sunset - its basically dark but you get some nice residual colours in the sky . Experiment! Steve
 
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writing4me

Thanks for the kind words, John. Sometimes (when I'm not lazy!) carry a small notebook with me to record how I metered a scene and what compensation I gave it. This helps me a lot when I'm trying a new aspect of photography where I'm not confident of my ability. When the film comes back, I know which gave me the closest results to what I wanted. For the cost of a roll of film and a piece of paper, it's a cheap lesson. Hope you get some great results
-Lynn
 

saspencr

Well-Known Member
thanks to everyone for the great tips. i'll get right on the experimentation now that i have some guidance! scott
 
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