Monday, August 29, 2016

1st Night - Mt. Hood

Because of bad weather, we could not shoot in Washington but drove straight to Lost Lake near Mt. Hood.

Here we received a great lecture from Dave on his technique to take sunset and night sky images. I loved his very methodical approach. Not a crazy collection of "try this" and "your camera can do X", but a step-by-step approach.

Sunset / Sunrise / Landscape photos:
  1. Better to use a tripod (though I took a couple of photos without it if I saw a great opportunity and didn't have the time to move tripod)
  2. Set camera to Aperture Automatic
  3. Set aperture to f/8 - f/11
  4. Set ISO to 100 (unless it gets really dark - but 100 was always enough for me for all the sunset/sunrise images!)
  5. Use Live View!!!
  6. Use level in Live View to level the camera.
  7. Set White Balance to value that makes picture in live view look like real image
  8. Set EV correction, so that histogram doesn't get clipped on either side. Don't worry if image looks too dark - can be corrected later in Lightroom.
  9. Use one point focusing. Focus on a point that is twice as far away as the closest point in my image (rough estimation of hyperfocal position)
  10. And now focus on composition - not on settings anymore (check them frequently if light changes signifcantly)
Star / Milky Way photos:
  1. Of course, use a tripod!!!
  2. Set camera to Manual
  3. Use maximum aperture (i.e. minimum f value)
  4. Set camera to infinite focus (for the 14-24mm Nikkor lens, I have to set it just to the right of the midpoint of the infinite sign)
  5. Use rule of 500 to determine maximum exposure
  6. Use high ISO: 2500 - after experimenting with my D750 and the 14-24mm Nikkor lens, I determined that I can go to ISO 4000 without getting too much noise
  7. Shoot - and always check image in camera. Try to make the histograms just separate from left side. Although if there is a lot of dark foreground (e.g. trees) that could create a spike on the left side. But we don't want any of the sky area to have zero signal pixels.
  8. And now focus again on composition!!!

It was a great first night where all of us were amazed how well we can do this with so little experience:

Sunset over Mount Hood

Milky Way over Lost Lake
Sunrise over Mt. Hood

Continue on 2nd night: Mt. Bachelor

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