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Shooting on sunset / nightdrives

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anne catherine
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Shooting on sunset / nightdrives

Unread post by anne catherine » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:05 pm

I would want to obtain more aesthetically pleasing images when shooting at night , with only the spotlights of the vehicule .
Aperture max ( i have only f:4 ), ISO 1600, focus manually,beanbag ?
Anything else ?
Thank you for your help .

Anne .

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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:10 pm

Autofocus may actually work, especially if both spots are on the subject. At least that's what I noticed a few weeks ago...
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Unread post by richardharris » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:33 pm

It may be too obvious but flash can work well. But it needs to be fairly powerful, and not the on-camera one!

I have taken some reasonable shots this way - but not suitable for every subject; it can look very artificial. Perhaps at its best at dusk when its acting as a fill-in.

High ISO is fine especially if you have some of the better noise reduction software packages - eg Neat Image.

Richard

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bert
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Unread post by bert » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:33 pm

Think the ISO will a bit high
Great for thumbnails, but not for bigger pictures
ISO 800 (400), F4 and the spotlight will do the trick
And use the camera flash settings as well
At least the camera tries to get the best our of the shot

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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:37 am

The Better beamer will indeed throw a ton of light around, plenty for using flash at large distances.

This photo was taken at a distance of 30 meters I think, using one:

Image
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anne catherine
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Unread post by anne catherine » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:10 pm

Thank you Richard , Bert , and DuQues .

I will try to improve next february as i am not an expert .
Better beamer seems very nice but perharps more easy to use whe you are in a camp with a view over a watherhole for exemple than from the vehicule of the park with sometime a lot of people and spotlights of the vehicule ?
The problem with the spotlihgts of the vehicule is that the light is not always so uniform and sometimes very strong .
Very very nice pic of the rhino.
The only flash we have ( an old starblitz ) is on the Minolta non digital body but the 70-200 zoom has broken alone in two last february in the park , so we now should buy one for the 350D and the 40D as we will not take the Minolta next time !

Anne .

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Neil Crawford
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Unread post by Neil Crawford » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:55 pm

Don't underestimate using the flash. On our night drive in the Kruger. I started off trying to just use ISO1600, then I noticed that my wife was getting much better photos using the canon 350D built in flash and ISO1600. She got photos of the African wild cat and chameleon where I failed.
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Unread post by Peter Betts » Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:17 am

DuQues wrote:The Better beamer will indeed throw a ton of light around, plenty for using flash at large distances.

This photo was taken at a distance of 30 meters I think, using one:


DQ I know that waterhole well in Et.... and the rhino here is on the far side which is a good 80 metres at places so a beamer works well here for sure but for decent pics on a night drive in say Kruger the best is a DSLR with a lens like the Canon 100-400, 70-200 plus 1.4 convertor or a Nikon 70-200 plus convertor. Never use the pop up flash in that dark. It's useless and you get this reddish cast that is hard to remove afterwards and besides those built in jobs arent made for that. Rather get a 580 EX Canon or if you have Nikon a SB800 and stick it on -1 stop fill and go for it...I used my SB800 to nail this roosting African Hawk Eagle on a night drive out of Krugers premier camp Punda Maria at a distance of 50 metres on half power +1 overide
Image
Also forget this ISO 1600 story as you get major noise unless you use the Canon 1d Cameras or the 40d or the Nikon D300 and D3 ...this pic was taken on ISO 100 which is way off 1600 and far better with the 350D/D200/30D class of DSLR
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anne catherine
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Unread post by anne catherine » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:42 pm

Peter ,

I saw in his little book " wildlife photography " that Richard du Toit's seems also to take his photography of nocturnal animals at ISO 100 ( film ).
I undestand i should buy a flash as i have not anyone for instant .But is it still usefull when there is already the spotlights of the vehicule who illuminates the animal ?

Anne .

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Peter Betts
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Unread post by Peter Betts » Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:14 pm

anne catherine wrote:Peter ,

I saw in his little book " wildlife photography " that Richard du Toit's seems also to take his photography of nocturnal animals at ISO 100 ( film ).
I undestand i should buy a flash as i have not anyone for instant .But is it still usefull when there is already the spotlights of the vehicule who illuminates the animal ?

Anne .


Hi Anne the use of Spotlights has always been controversial even with filters. What I do is ask the spotlighter to illuminate the animal so I can grab focus and let the flash work out the distance then depending on the animal...If it is nocturnal then it is okay if they shine in the vicinity (Not at the head) after you have focused and this allows you to shoot without harming the animal while seeing something what is going on. With the case of the Eagle in the pic above ...it relies on eyesight in the day so it is extremely important not to have a powerful Spotlight shone into its eyes at night. Here I asked the guide to shine 4 metres to the side and this allowed me to get focus. He then switched the light off and the only light we had was the headlights of the vehicle shining up the road. I then took the pic and this was the result..Hope that helps..but if you do a lot of night drives etc or bird photography in shade etc then a flash must be your next purchase
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shortcourse
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Night Drives and Flashes

Unread post by shortcourse » Sat May 10, 2008 11:56 am

I currently do not own a flash (other than my little pop up! :lol: ) and cannot realistically justify the cost of buying a flash. In August, I will be going to KNP and will naturally go on a couple of night drives. Now the problem arises - how can I get decent night shots without a flash? Do I even bother using my pop up?

A thought that crossed my mind was what if I got hold of one of the spot lights when we get on the drive and be one of the "game spotters", then, whenever game is spotted, I could use this as my flash by shining out while taking the photo? Would that work?! I have a 70-200mm f4L and would use this wide open.

Advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Unread post by madach » Sat May 10, 2008 12:10 pm

It depends on your camera. On nightdrives I've stopped using my flash and I now use the light from the spotlights instead. This requires a camera that can produce images at 1600 or 3200ISO though. If you set a lower ISO value then you won't have enough light for photography. My 1D Mark III can produce stunningly clean images at 3200 ISO, I suggest that you experiment with your own camera to see if you can get useable images at 1600 or 3200 ISO.

When using a spotlight you should be able to get shutterspeeds of around 1/60 @ f/4 with your lens.

Here's a picture I shot at night without flash (I don't have any good examples shot in a SANP, this image was made in Namibia)

Image

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Unread post by rayb » Sat May 10, 2008 12:11 pm

If you look at the majority of night photos shown on the site, they are lit by the spotlights or a powerful torch. From my experience of night drives, anything worth photographing will be illuminated by several lights.
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sat May 10, 2008 12:58 pm

You are not permitted to use a flash on a night ride. Eles might take exception to them and you will be either trampled by them or exterminated by the survivors on the ride :wink:
What we do iis ask the spotlight controllers to shine where we can get a reasonable shot (if possible) and it often works well.

Example: (African wild cat)Image
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saraf
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Unread post by saraf » Sat May 10, 2008 5:04 pm

Get control of the spotlight if you can - some people just move it around all over the place rather than holding it still. Another thing to be aware of is other people moving around in the vehicle which can make for blurry photos.
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