Episode 108 :: Metering for Night Photography

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http://theartofphotography.tv http://twitter.com/tedforbes We’ve done several videos on metering now and I will link to those for further information below. …


Brad Maestas says:

I would recommend removing all filters (unless you’re going for an effect). It is also important when you have candles in your shot. Even high-quality multi-coated filters will often produce ghosts with small, intense light sources in your exposures.

Jānis Lārmanis says:

Is that a cat in the background at the end of the video?

cibckwong says:

should we take off the UV filter for night scene?

Stephen Lewis says:

The camera’s meter, like all reflected light meters, want to render the world as 18% grey. I think the evaluative meter mode will scan the scene, identify the brightest bit and the darkest bit then pick a setting that splits the difference. Is this accurate?

Doud92 says:

Thank you for your advice! I found an EV chart on wiki but it is quite vague, “night traffic” is EV5 according to them which corresponds to 8 sec at f:16 / iso 100. I wouldn’t trust it, Ted suggested I use my digital camera for a lightmeter, problem is, in aperture priority mode, it won’t expose longer than 8 seconds.. So it won’t work even at f:2 on the digital one. I should do some test shots before living because I don’t have the money for a lightmeter.

Tavi Meyer says:

F/16 and 8 sec will not work well in my opinion. I usually don’t go for f/16 with my camera (be it night or day), my typical setting for late evening rush hour type of traffic is f/8-11 and 15-30 sec, depends on how well the environment is lit in general. Also, depending on the traffic, you may want to go for more than 8 seconds simply to have more of it in the photo. If you’re on a location where there is one car going every 10 seconds, the result is not going to be particularly interesting.

Tavi Meyer says:

For everyone shooting digital at night: low ISO doesn’t guarantee noise free images. Apart from high ISO noise there is also long exposure noise caused by the camera sensor heating up. How much of that noise you’re going to get will probably depend on your camera. The point is that you may need to remove that noise in post later using your favourite method.

I really like the church photo, Mr. Forbes.

Sina Farhat says:

Hi Ted, thanks for your thoughts, its a good thing to hear another photographers way of thinking!

I did some experimenting and found that when shooting at night i will just about always get blown highlight from lights and other reflective sources, i accepted that and i work on the composition so that i get a good shot that is interesting to see.
I also found that using a ND filter helps me to get less blown highlights,

Have a good day.


Jan Erik Edvartsen says:

Haha yeah. I just saw its paw on the top. Cute 🙂

Fillk0 says:

Hey Ted. When shooting night/dark/low-key on digital what are your thoughts on exposing-to-the-right (ETTR). I understand the reasons from a logical perspective, but it never quite feels right – I prefer to get the exposure in camera close to how I want the final image.What is your process? Cheers.

Klaus Doblmann says:

Hey Ted, I just wanted to throw this in here: You mentioned Ansel Adams – taking a look at the Zone System you can see very easily why night shots turn out too bright: The camera wants to place it at Zone V – middle gray, it’s just what it’s trained to do, no matter which camera (either film or digital) you use. Having that in mind and looking at the Zone System it suddenly becomes very clear why you have to underexpose two stops and why the meter gives you the value it does. Cheers.

keysignify says:

Thanks again for another great video.

I agree that computers are not always the best at determining the right exposure. Hell, the computer is damned from the start: my camera can’t read my mind, so it can’t tell what kind of exposure I want. (:

Learning how to meter a scene and learning all possibilities… well… it’s essential to learning what you can do, what you can’t, and what you want to do. I’d never know anything about these things if I let the computer make all of my decisions. (:

Doud92 says:

Thank you very much, I’ll test it out before leaving so I don’t have any bad surprise

Michael Pham says:

I know we shouldnt rely on hardware all the time, but I think that there are some new cameras that have exposure preview or something during the exposure. Like every so often a image displays on the screen so that you visually see how far your exposure is going, maybe that would be useful for landscape. I dont know what camera but it would be a really useful feature

Acquavallo says:

Can you do an episode on double exposure?

toonboy7 says:

two words … my old Yashica “Electro 35”, aperture priority … it will open the shutter for up to 30 seconds!

Classic rangefinder still in shape, it works brill.

jamie robbins says:

@theartofphotography Hi there, was that a 5D mk1? I’m thinking of buying one used, can you recommend it?

theartofphotography says:

Its generally going to depend on how much light you’ve got. There wasn’t much traffic in that second shot – the longer time got more cars so it might look a little deceiving. Street scenes can generate a lot of light so you’ll have to do some bracketing. Chrome won’t be forgiving at all like b+w. If you have a digital you can use to test it might help a bit. 8 seconds just sounds way too short to me.

pivotsweeter says:

Great vid

Doud92 says:

Hello Ted, I’m quite puzzled right now. I’m going to London this winter for a week and am bringing a Kodak Brownie for long exposure night shots. I never used this camera and did a little bit of research. According to my information for a traffic night shot (iso 100 / f 16) I should expose the film for only 8 seconds! Did you have a filter on for those 10 min exposures? The brownie has 3 f stops (11 16 22) and I’ll be bringing 100 iso chrome film. Do you have any tips? Any pattern to follow?

Jan Erik Edvartsen says:

“Metering for night photography” – bah boring… wait a min… it’s from Ted Forbes. Looks exciting. Must watch. *clicks link*

Adil Boukind says:

Thanks a lot! But with which email should I contact you? 

theartofphotography says:

You got it!

theartofphotography says:

Always but send away… I can get to it.

Noe Palacios says:

Good video, thanks Bro

Adil Boukind says:

Definitely the best youtube photography channel!

Ted, I have some questions can I send you an email or you are too busy?

TheSwoax says:

You have a cat in the background!!!! :D

Zeno C says:

1st……………..great vid…..thanx

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