Thursday, September 27, 2007

Canon 40D Night Time Exposure Tests: Part Two

As a follow up to last week's post about long exposures with the Canon 40D, last night I shot a pair of 9-minute exposures (f/9.5 at ISO 200) to compare the effect of in-camera noise reduction.

(9 minutes, f/9.5 ISO 200. Read below to see the 100% crops)

In a nutshell, in-camera noise reduction does a wonderful job of reducing sensor noise on long exposures. It works by immediately repeating your shot, but it turns the sensor on and keeps the shutter closed. This creates a "dark frame", which is electronically subtracted from the original image to produce a noise-free image. The disadvantage is that it locks up your camera for a period of time equal to the duration of the original image.

Here is the full image. You can see 100% crops of the shot without in-camera noise reduction here and here. You can see 100% crops of an almost-identical shot taken with in-camera noise reduction here and here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Canon 40D Night Time Exposure Tests: Part One

For the past five years, I've been using a Canon D60 for all of my night time work. When it was first introduced, I believe it was the only digital camera capable of shooting a whopping four minutes (under cool temperatures) without producing unacceptable levels of noise. Since then, sensor technology has improved. Clean exposures of up to ten minutes without noise reduction are not uncommon. And longer exposures of up to one hour, using in-camera noise reduction, are also possible.

(Click here to see the 100% crops taken at various long exposure intervals)

Last month Canon introduced the EOS 40D, the forth-generation replacement for the D60 (don't be confused by the naming conventions... this lineage went D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D). Last night I conducted some long exposure tests with the 40D. The subject isn't interesting, but I didn't have time to drive somewhere more interesting and start jumping fences.

I've uploaded the various 100% crops to this Flickr set, which also includes some daytime ISO tests. The shooting parameters are in the title of each shot.

Since my preferred ISO setting for night shooting has always been 200, I took most of these shots at ISO 200 over 3, 6, 9 and 12 minute exposures. I also had time for one 3-minute ISO 100 exposure to determine the difference between ISO 100 and 200 at long exposure.

Keep in mind that you can't directly correlate daytime ISO comparisons to long exposure night shots because the noise increases as the duration of the exposure increases (it's also effected by the temperature of the sensor). I may add more examples of different ISO/exposure combinations (along with in-camera noise reduction and Noise Ninja post-processing) in the future.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Peter Baker

I came across Peter Baker's After Hours collection of night photographs via the Conscientious blog's pointer to Peter's Blissfield collection (which I really like).

(Photo by Peter Baker).
I believe Baker currently lives in Ann Arbor, MI. Although his Empty series includes a pair of day photographs of the abandoned Alameda Naval Air Station.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Patti Hallock

Patti Hallock is a New York photographer. Her Nocturnal Suburbia series features some great shots of middle-class homes at night. Think "Todd Hido without the fog".

("Moon Falling" by Patti Hallock)

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Microwave Substation

(Photo by Andy Frazer)

An abandoned AT&T microwave substation.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oakland 16th Street Station

Oakland, CA's abandoned train station at 16th and Wood streets has been a favorite haunt for many Bay Area night photographers. At least, that's what I've been told because I've never made it there, myself. But that might change today.

(Photo by Joe Reifer)

A group called Urban Living Tour is offering a tour of the station, along with other hidden gems of Oakland. The tours run from 11am-5pm today (Sunday, September 16th). The cost is $20 for the entire tour (if purchased in advance), and the proceeds from the tickets benefit Rebuilding Together Oakland.

Note: After digging through their website a bit more, I realize that tickets are $20 in advance, and $30 at the door...And you can't buy them at the train station. You have to buy and pick up tickets at the registration office....Please check the website for more information because I feel like I'm at the point of getting myself confused and giving out wrong information).

(Photo by Troy Paiva)

More information about the tour is available at the Urban Living Tour link above. There's also a nice history of the station available at the San Jose Mercury News.

(Photo by Richard Sintchak)

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Book: "Nighttime Digital Photography with Photoshop CS3"

John Carucci has a new book available titled Nighttime Digital Photography with Photoshop CS3.

(Unknown photographer. Cover of John Carucci's new book).

At first glance, I have to admit the title is a bit misleading. I know that CS3 has a lot of neat, new features, but I didn't realize that it could take photographs. I thought you still needed a camera for that part.

OK, bad joke... I don't have a copy of the book. If anyone out there has seen it, please let me know what you think. If you want to write a short review, I'd be happy to post it here. If the publisher is reading this, I want to make it very clear that I have no problem accepting complementary copies of books and software (and even camera equipment, for that matter) for review. :-)

If you can't wait for the book, and if you would like to read some on-line information about post-processing digital night photographers right now, take a look at this great post by Joe Reifer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dalton Rooney

(Bus Stop, by Dalton Rooney)

Seen on the great photoblog Flak Photo.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nocturnal Visions Show in San Francisco

This month I'll have four of my night photographs on display in a group show titled "Nocturnal Visions". The show will be at ARTworkSF, at 49 Geary St, Suite #234, in San Francisco, CA.

The show includes work by four night photographers, as well as some night painters. The other night photographers featured in the show are Tim Baskerville, Richard Sintchak and Ethel Jimenez. There will be a reception for the artists tomorrow night (Thursday, Sept 6th) from 5:30-730pm, but the show runs through September 22nd.

If you can make it to the reception Thursday night, make sure you stop by my "spot" and say hello. Also, please note that ARTworkSF has moved from it's prior location in suite #215 (on the left) to #234 (on the right, as you exit the elevator).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bill Schwab

When I began doing night photography eight years ago, Bill Schwab was one of the few photographers on the internet with a really strong website. Bill is a professional photographer who works in the Detroit, MI area. Many of his unique black-and-white night photographs were taken under snowy or foggy conditions.

(Snow Dog, by Bill Schwab)

(Late February Thaw, by Bill Schwab)

Most of Bill's more recent night work (and long-exposure daytime work) has been done in Iceland. Bill also prints many of his special editions in the platinum process, which lends itself very well to his monochrome images. I own a copy of Bill's first book "Gathering Calm", which contains many beautiful b/w images. It is currently sold out, but a second edition may become available soon.

A few years ago, Mike Quinn and I spent over an hour talking to Bill at the PhotoSF show. I can vouch for him that he is a wonderful person to talk to. Bill leads photography workshops in Iceland that include the gum-over-platinum/palladium process. If you decide to sign-up, please let Bill know that you heard about it here.

Bill is represented by The Halsted Gallery, as well as Brian Kelly's wonderful The Photography Room. I'll have a seperate post about Brian Kelly's great night photography work in the near future.