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Harry

For shooting in underground stations and low light

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Post your tips and tricks for shooting in low light underground stations. Some people nail it perfectly, others don't. This thread is just to discuss different methods in achieving good exposures in low light/no flash situations.

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I find that for me it helps a lot to brace against a support column or similar structure and try to hold the camera as still as possible, even brace the camera against the pillar if you want. As a little bonus hint, hold your breath when you take the picture to eliminate the motion from breathing.

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I find that for me it helps a lot to brace against a support column or similar structure and try to hold the camera as still as possible, even brace the camera against the pillar if you want. As a little bonus hint, hold your breath when you take the picture to eliminate the motion from breathing.

 

Especially if you're shooting with an SLR and have to slow the shutter speed down to get a decent exposure and at the same time avoid any blurring from camera shake.

 

To me the heavier the camera, the better. For some reason, and I'm sure many would agree, I can hold a heavy camera more still than a light one.

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I love spot metering combined with a tripod for low light, it really lets the camera do its job. If no tripod i often try to find a stable surface to rest the camera against. Also, i find that putting the 2 second timer on my camera avoids the problem of shutter button rebound motion. Last resort would be flash, but flash only works to bout 15 feet, and does not work well through glazing (be it plastic or glass).

 

- Andy

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Drop to your lowest F Stop and mess with the shutter speed til it agrees with the aperture or til the picture is lit well.

 

Underground, I usually try to do is an aperture of F2.8 (thats the lowest my camera can go, if your camera can go lower, got for it) and then a shuttle speed of 1/4 or 1/5 of a second. Thats if you have your camera for ISO 100. If I keep raising the ISO on mine, it'll come out much grainy which of course most people don't want.

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Hold still and do not move and hold your breath, in order to make the photo blur free. Also, you must set the aperture at something low like f/2.8. Make sure that the ISO is low like ISO 80 in order to keep the photo grain free. Finally, make sure the shutter speed is low, like 1/8.

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Hold still and do not move and hold your breath, in order to make the photo blur free. Also, you must set the aperture at something low like f/2.8. Make sure that the ISO is low like ISO 80 in order to keep the photo grain free. Finally, make sure the shutter speed is low, like 1/8.

 

I prefer to breath out (empty lungs) and hold without taking any air in until the shot is done. That works better for than holding in my breath.

 

With a semi-pro or pro camera you can way above ISO 80 and achieve descent noise free shots. I pick mine up to at least 800 and its fine.

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you guys are pretty much sayin the same thing lol

 

but lemme add something, the ISO speed (well at least in my experience) you HAVE to put it up when the trains moving not matter what otherwise its gonna come out blurry (unless if thats the effect you want then thats cool too)

 

here are two good examples by me of course

 

IMG_0176.jpg

ISO 100

 

IMG_0177.jpg

this one was 400 i think

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you guys are pretty much sayin the same thing lol

 

but lemme add something, the ISO speed (well at least in my experience) you HAVE to put it up when the trains moving not matter what otherwise its gonna come out blurry (unless if thats the effect you want then thats cool too)

 

ISO has nothing to do with moving subjects. If the subject is moving in a low light situation then yes pick it up as high as your camera can handle.

 

In your two images the R38 is getting help from reflecting light off the tiles. The R44 has nothing to help with reflecting light so a higher ISO setting is needed to help. Basically increasing the sensitivity to light on the image sensor.

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ISO has nothing to do with moving subjects. If the subject is moving in a low light situation then yes pick it up as high as your camera can handle.

 

In your two images the R38 is getting help from reflecting light off the tiles. The R44 has nothing to help with reflecting light so a higher ISO setting is needed to help. Basically increasing the sensitivity to light on the image sensor.

if you have a low ISO and use those same shutter speed/f-stop combo's then its gonna come out dark

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Spot metering really helps in low light situations. For example, i can take a million blurry photos of the moon, then if i zoom in enough to get the "spot" area on a big enough patch of bright it'll focus perfectly.

 

I find also that once you find the "sweet spot" for your particular situation, to not get comfy with it at all, know you're going to have to re-adjust every time you move the camera or often, especially with moving stuff, every time the subject moves.

 

Am i the only one who is bothered by people using the flash every single photo they take, even if its outside in mid day with no clouds? Using the flash is only good for taking photos of really dark or backlit stuff. Say, if you want to go out at sunset and take some photos, and you want to get the subject, if its within 15 feet go for it, otherwise turn the flash off. A camera with a good low light auto-focus illuminator is good too. My cameras have one and it lets me take some crazy photos in light conditions even my eyes don't work well in. This also can work well in combination with flash.

 

You know, it would be neat to compile a list of stations by how illuminated they are, even elevated ones at night. This way you'd have an idea of what you'd need to do before you get there and save time and help you not miss a good catch.

 

- Andy

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You know, it would be neat to compile a list of stations by how illuminated they are, even elevated ones at night. This way you'd have an idea of what you'd need to do before you get there and save time and help you not miss a good catch.
Good luck putting something like that together.

 

Easiest thing for low light situations and underground shots, lowest f stop and then mess with the shutter speed until the photo is just right.

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Like Pablo sez, open up your lens all the way.

 

Half the battle is holding your camera steady. If you're using a camera that requires using a vid screen to compose your photo, hold it so your elbows rest on your chest. Holding your arms straight out subjects them to muscle fatigue that results in vibration. There's nothing wrong with leaning your back on a column either (just make sure there's one behind you, not like some guy I know :P I won't mention names but his initials are F G)

 

I normally use a lens with aperture f2 or f2.8 underground and I set my ISO to 800 or even 1000 if it's a moving train and more like 400 or less if it's stationary. If I can brace against a solid object I can kick my ISO down a lot lower. LIke Error's examples show, some stations are well lit with shiny tiles and others are dark caverns with nothing to reflect or not well lit to start with. Some processing softwares include a noise reduction routine that works quite well without sacrificing image sharpness. Even if not, I prefer a shot with a little grain to it over a blurry train. YMMV. I have a feeling that the next generation of camera sensors will allow clean shots at ISO 3200 and all of this will be ancient history.

 

One cheat I use is to set the EV* to underexpose by 1/3 or even 2/3, which speeds up the shutter slightly. I can bump up the exposure in post process and still enjoy a slightly faster shutter speed on the ground.

 

*EV is a tweak of the ratio between shutter speed and aperture that over or underexposes a shot slightly. Or look here to read from someone who knows what they're talking about :D

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1004333jf3.jpg

1004333jf3.bc2d93d2b1.jpg

1004334zw9.jpg

1004334zw9.ecb603fbd9.jpg

 

I really don't know how these shots turned out good, all I did was put it on Auto and then turned off the flash, kept still for 2 seconds then snap! They both came out good.

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Nice. I've been playing with manual focus with my sp560uz. If you want to get those shots in MF mode, i suggest calibrating it on something you don't want to get a photo of, then you'll be ready for when the shots matter. Obviously with a SLR camera the focus is easier to change, but on a non slr it's often a setting that has to be changed then set etc.

 

Some examples:

 

P8150192.jpg

P8150194.jpg

P8150193.jpg

 

Same distance, lighting, and exposure, just with the focus changed.

 

- Andy

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Like Pablo sez, open up your lens all the way.

 

Half the battle is holding your camera steady. If you're using a camera that requires using a vid screen to compose your photo, hold it so your elbows rest on your chest. Holding your arms straight out subjects them to muscle fatigue that results in vibration. There's nothing wrong with leaning your back on a column either (just make sure there's one behind you, not like some guy I know :P I won't mention names but his initials are F G)

 

I normally use a lens with aperture f2 or f2.8 underground and I set my ISO to 800 or even 1000 if it's a moving train and more like 400 or less if it's stationary. If I can brace against a solid object I can kick my ISO down a lot lower. LIke Error's examples show, some stations are well lit with shiny tiles and others are dark caverns with nothing to reflect or not well lit to start with. Some processing softwares include a noise reduction routine that works quite well without sacrificing image sharpness. Even if not, I prefer a shot with a little grain to it over a blurry train. YMMV. I have a feeling that the next generation of camera sensors will allow clean shots at ISO 3200 and all of this will be ancient history.

 

One cheat I use is to set the EV* to underexpose by 1/3 or even 2/3, which speeds up the shutter slightly. I can bump up the exposure in post process and still enjoy a slightly faster shutter speed on the ground.

 

*EV is a tweak of the ratio between shutter speed and aperture that over or underexposes a shot slightly. Or look here to read from someone who knows what they're talking about :D

now that would be awesome, clean shots at ISO 3200

 

i can't put mine past 400, otherwise its gonna be all nasty and ugly

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now that would be awesome, clean shots at ISO 3200

 

i can't put mine past 400, otherwise its gonna be all nasty and ugly

 

I usually sit mine at 200-800. Higher than that for outside, lower for when i have tripod or a solid stable shooting situation (set it on a bench etc). Noise reduction mode helps too.

 

- Andy

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I used take photos using my camera's auto settings since the manual settings are only white balance, exposure compensation, and something else. But I rcently changed to Sports mode. Is it better to shoot in sports mode (better coverage of fast-moving objects IINM), night mode or with manual settings and a good exposure? I've only played with my exposure settings on Monday and I set it to +2. Is there a better, mor recommended exposure to choose when underground? Like for example with ISO it's 400.

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I used take photos using my camera's auto settings since the manual settings are only white balance, exposure compensation, and something else. But I rcently changed to Sports mode. Is it better to shoot in sports mode (better coverage of fast-moving objects IINM), night mode or with manual settings and a good exposure? I've only played with my exposure settings on Monday and I set it to +2. Is there a better, mor recommended exposure to choose when underground? Like for example with ISO it's 400.

 

 

Sport mode doesn't work in low light. Just causes massive motion blur. Can be a cool effect, but the best way to get a still clear shot is with stable camera with flash in your situation, or mediate the shutter time.

 

- A

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Sport mode doesn't work in low light. Just causes massive motion blur. Can be a cool effect, but the best way to get a still clear shot is with stable camera with flash in your situation, or mediate the shutter time.

 

- A

It depends on camera, with mine sports mode makes the shutter time mad quick, but also makes the picture a bit darker, in some cases much darker.

 

dscn4150x.jpg

dscn4269m.jpg

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Sport mode doesn't work in low light. Just causes massive motion blur. Can be a cool effect, but the best way to get a still clear shot is with stable camera with flash in your situation, or mediate the shutter time.

 

- A

Thanks. I've been using Sports mode for 6 months underground, but I noticed that my pics haven't been coming out perfectly clear usually. They could come out without blur, but still not be clear. Examples:

 

R424748.jpg

 

DSCF3351.jpg

 

Especially when there's other motion. That blurs the whole picture.

DSCF2110.jpg

 

Since then, though, I started using manual settings about a month ago. The results are amazing. Just by changing the white balance and exposure compensation (which is useful when you think a shot will come out over or underexposed), I can finally take clear pics (which was my goal all along):

 

DSCF4035.jpg

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