1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Trees at night

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Poki, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I love the night. And I love telling stories with photos. So here's my latest shot from yesterday night - which was absolutely stunning and clear enough to see every constellation. Oh man, I just love walking through empty spaces at night, just listening to some music and looking to the sky.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/48126456@N05/9424258529/" title="Being Different by Poki5, on Flickr"> 9424258529_39bec1f045_c. "532" height="800" alt="Being Different"></a>

    What do you think? Any tips on how to improve on my night photography?
     
  2. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Amazing ! Poki's style. I guess you somehow post-processed a bit. Single or multiple exposures ?
    I'll give some tries soon shooting night skies based on your advices.
     
  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Thank you! Yeah, I constantly try to improve my style, and I think I get better although slowly.

    Of course I post processed quite a bit. You don't get these sky colors out of camera. Also, I changed the trees at the left a bit to make them look more hostile, darker and more evil. It's a single exposure with some help from a LED flashlight to get some details on the grass.

    Post the results here when you've got your first tries and I'll be happy to answer all the questions you'll come up with.
     
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I like it, of course. Even if it popped up somewhere else, I'd immediately think: "That must be Poki's!" One thing is bugging me though: the white spots below the tree can't be stars, right?
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    No, of course not. ;) These are fireflies.
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Ah! One of nature's surprises, for me at least.
     
  7. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Nice. I love the night sky, too, but I haven't seen more than Jupiter or Venus or a couple of the brighter stars in weeks. It seems like it has been that long since we've had a clear night sky. I walked out around 0430 this morning to find 100% overcast. :(

    Tony
     
  8. lowbone

    lowbone TalkEmount Regular

    99
    Oct 21, 2012
    Nicely done
     
  9. claude

    claude TalkEmount Top Veteran

    585
    Jan 13, 2013
    Ottawa Canada
    Really nice work. I don't like nitpicking anyones pics but is the tilt by design. It bugs me a bit.
     
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    04:30? I guess it's different everywhere in the world, but I'd definitely look when the night is darkest where you live. I always only shoot between 1 and 3 am, because before and after the sky is too bright to get a good view on the stars.

    The tilt is to emphasize the relationship between the tree in the middle and the little group of trees at the left side of the picture.
     
  11. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Very nice.

    I would like it more if that tree on the right was not there though. I know it is dim, but just a bit distracting.

    Still, better than anything I have ever done.
     
  12. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Thanks for the critic, I always appreciate that. But the tree in the middle is the main part of the story I want to tell through this photograph. It's all about it being different than the other trees, being treated hostile by the evil looking, mysterious trees which threaten it from the left side. On the other hand, the tree in the middle is the center of the universe, it is something special for what the other trees envy it.

    I'm for sure not the best at telling stories through photos, but I'll try it until I get better. The good thing is everybody sees something different, that's why I usually don't describe the story I am intended to tell - fantasy is awesome.
     
  13. Aurora

    Aurora TalkEmount Regular

    Amazing. How do I get a shot like this?
     
  14. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Well, technically, it's easy. You need a fast (relatively) wide lens (tele lenses can work too, but you'd need a star tracker), a camera with good high ISO performance (I use an ancient NEX-5, so any NEX should do), a flashlight and a solid tripod. Now, just set the camera up, dial a manual white balance in (you'll need to try which setting looks best because it's always a little different), focus on a super bright star or light in the distance, use the maximum shutter speed according to the rule of 500 (500 divided by the equivalent focal length of the lens you use), a wide open aperture and an ISO value to get a good exposure (usually between 1600 and 6400). In the end, it needs a fair bit of post processing (like you can see in the before and after thread).

    What's much more difficult than the technical part is the artistic part. You can't really see anything at night (especially since you need to go out when the moon is weakest), and even a flashlight won't solve all your problems. Finding a scene that is interesting and looks good is hard at the beginning, but with a little practice, you'll learn for what to look at night and it becomes second natural to shoot when the sun is down. Just don't make the mistake and think everything looks good with a milky way on top of it - the foreground is as important as in any landscape.
     
  15. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Hey Poki,
    Made some experiment recently. This is my best one so far. Could also shoot the milky way but I am still struggling when combining wide landscape and sky...

    ImageUploadedByTalkNEX1376381914.707306.
     
  16. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Hey izTheViz, you got pretty amazing sky colors and a nice graduation there! I'm not a big fan of the foreground, but you're on something with these colors!
     
  17. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Thanks. I tried with some more natural foregrounds but could not get them in focus and correctly exposed without having the sky underexposed. Hence the need for multiple exposures as you mentioned. But it is hard to focus in sky when nothing else than stars...
    I still have some more days here in the Greek islands to test out. But there is currently to much wind...
     
  18. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yep, focusing without light - especially with E-mount lenses without any indicators around the focus ring - needs quite a bit practice.

    As for the exposure - I usually prefer doing only one exposure for a photo at night - it often looks more natural. One key to get everything in focus is to use a wide angle lens - even if you shoot a 12mm lens wide open at f/2.8, everything from about 2,3 meters to infinity is in focus, which in most cases is enough. When using a more 'tele' lens like a 24mm one, doing multiple exposures often is necessary, unfortunately.

    As for the foreground - I have absolutely no problem that it's not 'natural' - it's just not particularly interesting.
     
  19. macro

    macro TalkEmount Regular

    152
    Feb 3, 2012
    New Zealand
    Danny Young
    Darn good work and result. Love the effects in this and good exposure. I just feel like saying..... "Good heavens above" ;) Beautiful.

    Danny.