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  1. #1
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    Default Taking pictures at night

    Hi All:

    I leave for Disney in 24 hours ,and was thinking about this tonight. If I want to get pictures of the castle and the fireworks at night, what is the best settings to have on a digital camera? I know very little / nothing about cameras so try to keep it simple!

    Also, what about the parade at night?

    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give me!

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  3. #2
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    Unless you have a very professional camera or a really steady hand, don't use the night shot for taking pictures of lighted objects at night because they will come out very blurry. For fireworks and lighting displays at night I've had the best results with keeping my flash turned off and the setting either on regular or action shot. However I too know very little about cameras so there could be better methods, but this has worked extremely well for me. Have fun!
    ~M.~

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  4. #3
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    Normally what I use for night time shots is the sport setting with the fast shutter speed that gets them a lot of the time. I also have a big memory card so can take many pictures of the same thing in case something doesn't look right.
    Chris

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  5. #4
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    Turn off the flash... It's not good past 10 feet and will tell the camera to use a faster shutter speed than is required.

    Many point and shoot digital camera's are not capable of taking great shots in low light conditions. You really need control over the shutter, aperature and the ISO settings. YOu CAN get some shots, but I'd bet that more often than not, what you get will not be what you expected.

  6. #5
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    Smile

    I am no expert by any means but I take crime scene photos. If you are using sports setting or any high speed settings for best results you need to use a tripod. I carry one all the time when I am at DW ( yea Right ).

    Really try taking some practice photos. This is the best way to find out how well your camera is going to work in a given situation. The great thing about digital is you can see your results right away.

    My camera is a Fuji S5100 digital camera and I take night photos with out using any special settings and get great results. Again I played with the camera to find out what it was able to do.

    Good luck, I hope this was of some help.

    Oh! I forgot to add as posted earlier do not use a flash.

    Pop again the last of August.
    Last edited by Itchy; 04-18-2008 at 07:25 AM. Reason: add information
    Itchy for another trip

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  7. #6
    BMan62 is offline Team INTERCOT Cast Member
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    1) No flash
    2) Sport setting for faster shutter speed
    3) Be aware of what is in front of you - most basic autofocus digital cameras will focus on the nearest object, so if you are trying to get a good shot of the castle and someone walks in front, the autofocus will try to get the person, not the castle. Goofed me up this past Dec. when I was trying to get a good shot of the icicle lights on the castle - had focused on the castle then right as I was depressing the shutter release someone walked in front. The camera refocused on the back of the guys head!!!

  8. #7
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    The only thing I have to add to what was posted before is to know your camera! - Get used to it's settings.

    If you're adventurous try using manual settings. Set the tripod up ahead of time and take pictures of the castle, see how the settings change as it gets darker. Once you have your settings the way you want them you should be able to take some good shots of the fireworks.

    Some camera's also have settings to adjust the exposure while in a mode such as sports/action. You should still take a few shots ahead of time and see if you want the exposure to be brighter or darker than what is being taken with the default. Adjust it accordingly and then have fun taking pictures.
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  9. #8
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    Unless you have one of those big, fancy $300 flashes, turn it off. It's only good for 8-10 feet, and you're going to be farther than that from the parade.

    The problem is that to get a good shot in low light, you'll need to keep the shutter open longer to allow the light in. You can raise the ISO settings (the higher the number, the less sensitive it is, or the less light you need, thus resulting in faster shutter speeds), but your picture will get increasingly more "grainy" as you raise it. I wouldn't go higher than ISO 800, and if you can swing it, ISO 400 would be even better. Also, the longer the shutter is open, the less sharp the picture is going to be. The floats and fireworks will be blurred. But, if you use a fast shutter speed, it may be too dark to see anything.

    The best thing to do is to let the camera detect what settings it needs, and find somewhere to prop the camera up...a wall, table, fence, something to keep it steady as the shutter opens. Also, if you have a good place to set the camera, use the timer option instead of hitting the button yourself. That will guarantee a sharper picture.
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  10. #9
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    Itchy made a comment about a tripod. That would help but take a lot of room, end up tripping people and be a pain to carry. I received a mono-pod as a Christmas gift. That will work much better for a trip like this. They can be purchased for $20-$30 and work well. It will prevent most of the shaking and you can easily carry it or store it in a backpack or purse later. And I agree with the other posters-- a flash will not work so don't use it. Good luck. Mark
    30+ trips; DCV owner at Beach Club Villas; 4 Disney cruises; 2 trips to Disneyland

  11. #10
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    We got some beautiful shots of the Spectromagic parade, used no flash, but a tripod would have been nice. For castle shots, either rest your camera on something solid (DH's bent back worked fine ) like a railing, and they turn out beautiful!

    One thing that the PhotoPass guys did was to use a flash, but also a SLOW shutter speed -- that way you can see the people in front of the Castle, but still get the beautiful lighting behind You just have to stand REALLY STILL until the shutter clicks
    FIRST EVER WDW visit Jan 2008 at ASMovies

  12. #11
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    Turn off the flash...stop by Best Buy (I know they have them there)...other places may carry these also...

    Pick up a MINI TRIPOD for about $11. This thing is tiny and quite "compact". Small enough to fit in a "pocket". It even has a little strap that it can hang off of your camera's bag. It's little legs streach out pretty good too. I'd set this tripod on garbage cans.

    To be "extra" steady I'd set the "timer" (once again...be sure to turn off the flash)...push the button and let the camera take the picture. This keeps your finger from shaking the camera when you press the button.

    Some digital cameras have a "fireworks" setting that works pretty good for sudden bursts of light at night. You might check this out too.
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  13. #12
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    Thanks everyone. I certainly would have been using the flash, so now I know not to. I'll also try upping my ISO from 80 to something a bit higher (400?)

    Thanks again.

  14. #13
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    If your camera has the option, you'll want to put it on the "S" setting which is shutter priority. (Your "M" - manual setting will work as well I think) You'll want to set the shutter speed at around 2-3 seconds. (Not "1/2" which means half a second) You'll also want to set your ISO to either 400 or 800. You will need a tripod though for these settings to work. It's very, very hard to hold your camera perfectly still for 3 seconds. You can also see if your camera has a firworks setting. Again though, I think you would need a tripod for that as well. My dad and I (he had a DSLR, I had a point and shoot) used these settings when we were there this past Christmas and they worked fantastic! I was soooo pleased as I've rarely gotten good night shots before. Whatever you decide to do, I highly recommend getting there early and taking several "practice shots" to mess around with the settings and see what works and what doesn't. Have fun!
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  15. #14
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    This sounds kind of silly, but I sort of anchor my upper arms and elbows very tightly against my sides when holding up the camera - rather than holding my arms out in front of me at all. This has allowed me to hold the camera still enough to get fantastic nighttime shots of parades, fireworks, etc. (no flash, of course). My husband just bought me a Gorillapod, which is a small, lightweight tripod that has flexible, gripping legs that allow you to attach it to various surfaces. We'll see how that works on our next trip!
    Last edited by Aggie97; 04-18-2008 at 01:39 PM. Reason: clarification
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  16. #15
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    Here's an important tip for night shots that might seem counter-intuitive:

    When you're shooting a long exposure using a tripod and your camera/lens has image stabilization you should turn this feature off.

    Because the camera/lens IS systems work off of a feedback loop, if there's no motion feeding into the stabilization system then this actually introduces drift and you will wind up with a blurry shot.

    Image Stabilization is a great feature to have these days and should almost always be used except when using a tripod.

    And the Gorillapod (as mentioned in the post above) is a great tool I almost always have with me when I have my camera along. It is small enough to easily fit in a pocket or a bag and you can easily attach it to any railing, or even a lamp post and get a stable shot or use it by itself as a tripod.

  17. #16
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    Cool

    Don't make this harder than it needs to be. Let me show you 4 photos and tell you how I made them:

    Hollywood Studios night sign
    Alien Encounter night signs
    Tomorrowland night signs
    Fantasmic fountains

    These were all made in 2002 with a pocket sized Minolta Dimage X, completely normal settings (automatic- all that camera provided), flash off, ISO 100. The photos required no special digital editing- what you see is what I got out of the camera. What could be easier?

    However... I did use a tripod. The shutter speeds were between 1/16 sec and 1 second- that's very slow. As I recall my tripod for that tiny camera was a very flimsy lightweight thingy that collapsed down next to nothing. For a bigger camera of course you'd need something more substantial. No tripod? ...then brace the camera against the side of a pole or set it on top of a trash can or whatever.

    Other tips... Use the self timer so you have nothing touching the camera during the shot. Take several shots of the same scene, since you can't tell which if any are really sharp on your camera's display- you'll find that out when you get them home to your computer.

    Higher ISO may be needed, or special settings, esp if you're trying to do something in motion. But you could just take the kind of scenes you know will work and/or throw away the shots that don't. Digital memory is mighty cheap these days (compared to not that long ago).

    Experiment before you leave home. Walk around your neighborhood and take night pics of houses cars and buildings. But don't get arrested.
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  18. #17
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    Another small tripod option would be the Ultrapod II. It's a little big for a pocket, but will fit nicely into a fanny pack. It has a velcro strap so you can attach it to things if you want or need to.
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  19. #18
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    Camera meters are easily fooled by night shots of light objects. All the dark area around the subject will cause overexprosure, so go to manual mode if possible.
    If using a normal 50mm lens try these settings:
    Neon signs - ISO400 at 1/125 sec at f/2.8 If underexposed decrease shutter speed to 1/60sec. If overexposed increase shutter speed to 1/250.
    Lit streets - ISO 400 at 1/60 sec at f/2.8. Id overexposed increase shutter speed to 1/125. If underexposed decrease shutter speed to 1/30 or increse ISO to 800.

    All photography is about "stops" learn the relationship between ISO, lens opening and shutter speed.

    Yes, a tripod will improve your photos, but they can be a pain to lug around. With a lens of around 50mm you can hand hold 1/60sec easily.

    Dave aka: Altair
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  20. #19
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    Red face

    Camera meters are easily fooled by night shots of light objects
    Many situations "fool" automatic exposure systems. Those of us with some experience and skill often are fooled as well, so our fancy settings aren't 100% accurate either. The most important thing is to look at what you're getting and correct if needed for the next shot. I'm old enough to remember wasting plenty of film (bad enough) and photo opportunities (much worse) because the camera or I or both couldn't figure it out & I didn't find out until I got the photos back & it was too late to fix. By comparison, digital is so wonderful- you see what you're getting immediately, while there's (usually) still time to try again. The only exception I've found, as I already mentioned, is that photos can look sharp on my LCD, even zoomed in, and still not be acceptable (to me) when I get them home. So focus error and camera blur are still occupational hazards.

    So- how to keep it simple? 1) Shoot whatever you see with whatever settings you like. 2) Learn enough about your camera to at least know how to brighten or darken what it's giving you. 3) Experiment and refine your techniques until you're happy with the results.

    As you can tell from this thread, there are many approaches- photography is more art than science. Don't let it stop being fun. And don't forget that even a pro (this one at least) is never 100.0000000% certain of success in a given setting no matter how many times he/she's been there done that before. That's why I bet you dimes to donuts that at a fancy wedding or other super important 1 time event, the high priced photographer is just a little bit nervous about something going wrong, even if he/she is really really good at hiding it. Wow, I do ramble on sometimes, hope it helped or entertained somebody.
    Dec 1977 - my 1st MK visit
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