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Author Topic: Campfire Shot  (Read 6231 times)
timothyj
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« on: June 19, 2012, 11:39:38 AM »
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Would like some feedback on this shot of a campfire I took on a recent camping trip: http://www.thinkingrandom.com/around-the-campfire/

Taken with Nikon D5100, kit lens, f/25, 8 second exposure. I did some editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop as well.

In addition, any tips you may have from experience shooting fire would be helpful. The "white" area of the fire ended up washed out; not sure if there's a way to prevent this with filters/adjustments, or if that is just due to longer exposure and movement of flames in that time. Thanks!
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louoates
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 01:40:12 PM »
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If I wanted more detail in both the white areas and also the front of the charred logs I'd set up my tripod and shoot lots of different exposure times. Then I'd mix the best of all the parts by bringing in each shot as a separate layer, and masking out the parts I didn't  want. Should be simple to do.
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fike
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 02:22:38 PM »
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If I wanted more detail in both the white areas and also the front of the charred logs I'd set up my tripod and shoot lots of different exposure times. Then I'd mix the best of all the parts by bringing in each shot as a separate layer, and masking out the parts I didn't  want. Should be simple to do.

+1

You got a really nice shot.  Blown highlights are part of the effect here, so don't sweat it too much.  If you want more detail, you are stuck compositing from multiple tripod-mounted exposures.  I do it all the time, but it is time-intensive on both the post processing and capture ends of the process.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 04:52:27 PM »
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Timothy: This might interest you: http://regex.info/blog/2008-08-06/901

Mike.
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timothyj
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 08:34:47 PM »
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Appreciate the feedback. I've been lurking on this site for a while and hoping to participate some more.
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langier
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 10:44:05 AM »
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Less overall exposure and shoot at a more moderate aperture, say f/8 or f/11. try a little fill-in flash with the built-in, but run it second-curtain, -1.5 to -2.0 AND add a Full CTO filter (or any orange colored filter you may have). Bracket a lot to keep color in the flame. Try a lower ISO such as ISO 200.

Here's an exercise for you.

Set the camera at ISO 400. Daylight color balance. Jpeg files (this is a test at this time), Manual exposure. f/9.5 (somewhere between f/8 and f/11). Shoot a series of photos at these shutter speeds: 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1", 2", 4". This should give you plenty to look at and see what is happening.

Try the same, this time for "Tungsten" balance. Everything the same.

Do it again with the flash, say second-curtain and -1.5.

Now see which one looks the best. If they are all too light, lower the ISO from say 400 to 100 or stop-down the lens from to f/18 and pick the shutter speed that was the darkest. If they are too dark, raise the ISO to 800 or 1600 or open the lens to f/5.6 and choose the lightest image. Somehow, I think the first set of exposures will get you very close!

Take your best image and see what the settings are. Use them to do another test to "fine-tune" your exposure. Try these on "RAW" so you can fine-tune the images and also see how much more you can pull out of the file compared to the jpeg image. This time, bracket in 1/3rd or 1/2 stop steps. Try varying the flash--  -1/2, -1, -1.5, -2, -2.5, -3. Try it without the filter over the flash.

This exercise should give you a lot of info on how your camera records and get you better skills to both capture a great image and fine-tune it more to what you saw!
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Larry Angier
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fike
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2012, 08:24:39 AM »
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Larry is right, experiment, experiment, experiment!!!

I am not as big a fan of fill flash in dark photography. I feel like it often destroys the moodiness of the image.  If you do need to use a flash, then using off-camera flash really is essential to avoiding that awful flat light that can result from the built-in flash.  You can either use a cord or wireless firing flash and as Larry recommends, second-curtain is essential. 

Using flash is a good idea, but it ramps up the equipment, complexity and most importantly, the intrusiveness of the photography.  I think that last point is the biggest reason I don't use it for campfire types of shots.  I would almost rather use blurry subjects and paint-in with a flashlight than blinding everyone with a fill flash.

Here is one of my favorite fireside shots.  note the blown highlights in the fire and the fuzzy people.


http://www.trailpixie.net/general/new_moon_in_smo.htm
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
Karlw
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 07:48:14 AM »
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Maybe he could try light painting the log.
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IanBrowne
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 08:32:40 PM »
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make exposure bracketing your friend Tim. Digital makes it so easy (no costs like film) to bracket exposures when the lighting is difficult to meter. Camera meters are so good these days but there are not perfect and certainly not wired to the photographers brain. (I think that will happen in the feature BTW Shocked)

It's years since I have done camp fire photos so i cannot offer too much help other than to say whites (bright things/flames) should never be over-exposed

For those who don't know: bracketing means to take several different exposures of the one subject and usually from to same point of view. Most cameras have an auto bracket function. I would suggest several 1/2 stop brackets would suit most subjects. The experts would say 1/3 stop should be used. Use a tripod if you plan to use a number of the images to make one photo.

OR use the exposure compensation dial  when the camera is in P, A, S,

Google "bracketing" for more info


I have heard of a landscape photographer who had his camera set to captured five JPEG files of every scene photographed. He just had to concentrate on the composition of the photos and the different exposures often captured something different in the light he had not seen.
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Alpenhause
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 02:32:31 PM »
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Digital is quite interesting in its long exposure behaviour.

I have shot the old Kodachrome 25 using the time exposure method and often find out it is hard to overexpose!

Perhaps longer exposures at f16 could give more predictable results over a short exposure with the lens wide open? or a really low iso setting?
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arlon
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 08:47:01 AM »
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Maybe he could try light painting the log.

That's what I'd be trying. Use an incancescent light and it will will be very warm, closer to light of the fire.
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