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Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

Act I: adjusting to the light


From:

Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

with Ben Long

Video: Act I: adjusting to the light

(applause) (Female speaker: Good evening! How are you tonight?) (cheering) (Male speaker: I love that noise! (Female speaker: What a coincidence! We're all "waaa!" too) (Female speaker: So, welcome to Bet's Improv. Tonight we're performing an improvisational format that's called a Harold.) (applause) So I shot the first act and I got lucky because it turned out that the stage was not nearly as dark as I thought it was going to be.
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  1. 2m 27s
    1. Welcome
      2m 27s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. What can you shoot in low light?
      2m 17s
    2. What you need for this course
      4m 3s
  3. 28m 54s
    1. Working with exposure parameters in low light
      1m 13s
    2. Working with image sensors in low light
      4m 35s
    3. Working with shutter speed in low light
      3m 3s
    4. Considering motion blur
      1m 14s
    5. Working with ISO in low light
      2m 29s
    6. Assessing your camera's high ISO capability
      4m 52s
    7. Working with in-camera noise reduction
      2m 4s
    8. Working with aperture in low light
      2m 10s
    9. Understanding dynamic range
      2m 2s
    10. Working with color temperature and white balance
      1m 11s
    11. Exposing to the right
      4m 1s
  4. 34m 39s
    1. Introduction
      1m 36s
    2. Talking with Steve Simon about low-light photography
      13m 46s
    3. Shooting by candlelight
      1m 55s
    4. Choosing a mode
      4m 34s
    5. Exploring the role of lens stabilization
      3m 1s
    6. White balance considerations
      3m 27s
    7. Flash considerations
      1m 18s
    8. Problem solving
      1m 35s
    9. Understanding aesthetics and composition
      3m 27s
  5. 30m 4s
    1. Introduction
      2m 20s
    2. Preparing for the shoot
      5m 25s
    3. Act I: adjusting to the light
      3m 48s
    4. Intermission: reviewing the strategy
      1m 53s
    5. Act II: moving to the back of the house
      2m 35s
    6. After the show: lessons learned
      1m 18s
    7. Reviewing the performance images
      12m 45s
  6. 19m 18s
    1. Shooting in the shade
      2m 55s
    2. Street shooting
      2m 52s
    3. Shooting flash portraits at night
      4m 5s
    4. Controlling flash color temperature
      2m 50s
    5. Adjusting exposure to preserve the mood
      2m 34s
    6. Dynamic range considerations
      4m 2s
  7. 41m 0s
    1. Shooting lingering sunsets
      1m 42s
    2. Exploring focusing strategies
      5m 17s
    3. Composing and focusing at night
      10m 42s
    4. Shooting the stars
      9m 27s
    5. Practicing low-light landscape shooting
      9m 55s
    6. Focusing on the horizon in low light
      3m 57s
  8. 13m 4s
    1. Light painting: behind the camera
      7m 34s
    2. Light painting: in front of the camera
      2m 13s
    3. Manipulating long shutter speeds
      3m 17s
  9. 1h 4m
    1. Correcting white balance
      8m 49s
    2. Correcting white balance with a gray card
      3m 50s
    3. Correcting white balance of JPEG images
      2m 0s
    4. Blending exposures with different white balances
      7m 13s
    5. Brightening shadows
      9m 8s
    6. Reducing noise
      7m 44s
    7. Sharpening
      9m 14s
    8. Correcting depth-of-field issues
      9m 32s
    9. Correcting night skies
      6m 39s
  10. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light
4h 0m Intermediate Mar 29, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join photographer and teacher Ben Long as he describes the tools, creative options, and special considerations involved in shooting with a DSLR camera at night or in low-light conditions, such as sunset or candlelight. The course addresses exposure decisions such as choice of aperture and shutter speed and how they impact depth of field and the camera’s ability to freeze motion.

Ben also shows how to obtain accurate color balance in tungsten and fluorescent lighting situations, and how to postprocess the images in Photoshop to remove noise caused by higher ISO settings. He also demonstrates accessories that can greatly expand your low-light photography options.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how low light affects exposure, shutter speed, color temperature, and more
  • Preparing for a low-light shoot
  • Shooting in dimly lit rooms
  • Using the flash indoors
  • Shooting in the shade
  • Taking flash portraits at night
  • Controlling flash color temperature
  • Focusing in low light
  • Light painting
  • Manipulating long shutter speeds
  • Correcting white balance
  • Brightening shadows
  • Sharpening and noise reduction
Subjects:
Photography Photography Foundations Night + Low Light Lighting
Author:
Ben Long

Act I: adjusting to the light

(applause) (Female speaker: Good evening! How are you tonight?) (cheering) (Male speaker: I love that noise! (Female speaker: What a coincidence! We're all "waaa!" too) (Female speaker: So, welcome to Bet's Improv. Tonight we're performing an improvisational format that's called a Harold.) (applause) So I shot the first act and I got lucky because it turned out that the stage was not nearly as dark as I thought it was going to be.

I've been to a lot of performances here, a lot of improv performances here, and very often the stage lights are pretty low, which is one reason I was so concerned about having fast lenses and trying to figure out what speed lens was going to work in what location. So what I've found is early on, before the show even started, I put a few different lenses on my camera and metered around on stage. It's hard to get an accurate metering that way because there are no performers on stage, but it still give me a ballpark idea of what kind of ISO I was going to need to be working at. And I was very pleased to find that I could stay at 1600, 3200, ISOs that I'm comfortable with, with my camera noise-wise.

Once I have got started shooting though, it turned out they were flooding the stage with so much light that I really was not having any problem with motion stopping on any of my lenses. I had started out with the nice fast 51:2 on my camera and was thinking, "I'm going to have to be real careful about depth of field and focus because that lens is so fast, the focus can be difficult." But I was getting such high shutter speeds that I quickly switch back to the 24-105, because even at f/4 on that lens, which is as fast as it will go, I had enough light to keep my shutter speed at the speed it needed to be to stop the motion on the stage.

So I got really lucky in that regard. I shot for a while though and then took a look at one of my images and pulled up the histogram and found that that bright white background was really overexposing. I hadn't been paying attention to it during a lot of the show and I finally thought, ooh, that's awfully bright, let me look. When you see white shirts on stage or any bright white object being hit my stage lights, there is a good chance that's going to blow out to complete white in your final image. So I checked my histogram and saw that in fact the whites were overexposing, so I dialed in about 2/3rd of a stop of underexposure and took a test shot.

The performance was going on. I decided I'm not going to worry about what I'm going to getting and just going to shoot, and I saw that that have pulled my exposure down some. I actually tried a couple more test shots at different amounts of exposure compensation and -2/3rds seem to be about the best. So I shot that way pretty much for the rest of the show. If the lighting changed dramatically, I fiddled with it a little more, but in general I found that that underexposure was keeping the bright whites under control, and I don't think anything else is dramatically underexposed. I've got enough latitude to kind of pull it up. One really nice surprise is that I was finding that in some cases, particularly with the faster lenses like the 16-35, I can put it on 2:8 or even 3:5 and I was getting shutter speeds at a 500th or 600th of a second.

There wasn't a whole lot of really fast action on stage, so I didn't need that quick a shutter speed, so I decided to dial my ISO back. I turned it down, because I had all this shutter speed latitude and because I can pull my ISO down, it meant I could eliminate even more noise. (actors performing indecipherable speech)

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