kind of camera should I use for night photography?
A: Above all, a manual camera.
You need to be able to control every aspect of your exposure,
mainly for two reasons. First, if you were to use your camera
on an automatic setting, you would likely have under-exposed
film because a.) meters don't account for the reciprocity
failure of film during long exposures, and b.) most light
meters are not sensitive enough to take an accurate reading
at night. Most in camera meters are sensitive to about 1 EV,
where as the light of the full moon is about -7 EV. The other
reason for using a camera with manual settings is so that
you will learn how to accurately estimate night-time exposures
in different lighting situations.
I use the fastest film I can find?
A: Not necessarily. Film choice
at night depends on subject matter and desired effect, just
as it does during daylight exposures. For example, if you
intend to photograph people in a street scene at night, then
you might use a 400 or 800 speed film, so that you could record
the people before they moved so much that they wouldn't register
on the film. On the other hand, if you intend to use a flashlight
to "paint with light," you'll likely want to choose
a medium speed film, ie:100 or 200 asa so that your exposure
will be long enough to do your "painting," but the
film will still be sensitive enough to record the flashlight
efficiently. A reason to choose an even slower film would
be if you wanted to have a particularly long exposure in order
to enhance the surreal quality of many night photographs.
(Also see #7 below)
8: I need
help with the fireworks display - THIS weekend!
A: To photograph a fireworks
display, use a 400 speed film and expose the film for three
or four bursts of fireworks at f5.6 or 8, however long that
takes. If you try to capture more than about four bursts on
the same frame, the effect is not as good. Fireworks photos
often work well if you include some spectators in the foreground.
The people will be somewhat lit by the fireworks display.
If you use a fill flash, set it to under expose by 1 to 1
1/2 stops. Make sure to set all of the settings manually!
you please tell me what the f/no. for the night scenes like
those where car lights are rendered like a line.
A: The f-stop is not the important
factor in this situation, if I understand your email correctly
- it's the length of exposure, which has to be 1/4 or 1/2
second or longer for the car lights (assuming moving traffic)
to register as a line. So, then the f-stop would depend mostly
on your film speed. One solution is to simply meter some car
lights (standing still) and apply that to the situation (so
that if you meter the light on pavement as 1/15 second at
f5.6 you would adjust your camera to 1 or 2 seconds at f16
or 22). Therefore, as you can see, it's a good idea to stick
with slower films (ASA 64 or ASA 100) - NOT 400 or 800!
is the significance of the naming of the full moons? Are they
just from the Farmer's Almanac or do they have roots of a
more important nature.
A: True, they're from the Almanac,
but they have their roots in native American and pre-recorded
history. Many of the names gathered from the Farmer's Almanac
are attributed to Eastern (US) tribes who kept track of the
season by giving each of the months a distinctive name. CLICK
HERE for a PDF with a full month-by-month description of the
names. Some, like the HARVEST Moon are well known by name
and the meaning behind them. Others are not so well known.
BTW, we've located a listing of names used by other Native
Americans - Tlingit, Omaha, Ojibwa, and Tewa - many in the
form of descriptive phrases, not just a single word; and will
be posting this info to the site soon with some history of
their origin and usage.
live in Tokyo, Japan. Can the full moon dates given be applied
regardless of your location on the globe? Will I be able to
see a full moon on January 31 if the skies are clear?
A: Certainly the moon you see
on January 31 is going to be very full, and would suffice
for any night photography you might be doing - however, to
determine the time/date of the 'true' full moon, the times
posted are Eastern Standard Time (United States) - as you
move west you add time (Time Zones) such that the time of
full moon is APPROXIMATELY 3 hrs later in San Francisco. In
theory, you just keep adding time zones as you move westward
to arrive at the time you would need for Japan, EXCEPT THAT
the "International Dateline" comes in to play, so
I'm not sure how that would affect it. In your specific instance
I would think that the Full Moon would occur on the following
day - Feb 1 - but again I'm not completely sure.
You might check some of the sites below for info or email them
- good luck! Please let TheNocturnes.com know what you find out
- our global community appreciates it.
Pres-Future Moons - Lunar Outreach Services
FAQs - US Naval Observatory
Earth and Moon Viewer
Time and Moon Phase from the U.S. Naval
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific - ASPSKY
I print out and use some of your images, for a rave I'm involved
with this month?
A: Please see TheNocturnes.com
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you e-mail me some basic beginning night photography information.
A: Basically, anything that
we would email you is (or will soon be) on the Web Site. Read
the INTERVIEWS, look over the ARTICLES section and the TIPS
pages (more to come soon!), as well as the FAQs page. Feel
free to print them out for your personal reference. Also,
check out The Nocturnes' "O. Winston Links" page
and visit Troy Paiva's FAQs and David Baldwin's "Notes
for beginners". And of course, we offer intensive 3-night
Workshops in Night Photography around the Full Moon every
month at RayKo South Photo Center in San Francisco, CA. CLICK!
on http://www.thenocturnes.com/workshop.htm for detailed information
(and a form you can print out to register for classes).
you tell me the exact date of the full moon phase for May
and June 2002? How about for an historic date in the past?
A: That information is available
at: http://www.lunaroutreach.org. There is form or table you
work with online to gather the info. Glad to help out.
And . . . the #1 Frequently Asked
Question is . . .
can you take a photo out there at night? There's no light
- it's . . . so DARK!
A: Relatively, yes, but making
the exposure is a cumulative process - it's light over time
- whether that time interval is relatively short (say 1/500th
of a second) or long (like 3 hours) - it's the same thing.