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Digital Capture After Dark

Book Description

The pitfalls of photographing at night are many. Autofocus and built-in light meters generally fail at night. Long exposures tend to make noisy or blurry photographs. Cameras set to automatic generally trigger the built-in flash in low light conditions, which results in unsatisfying images. Lack of understanding and inappropriate techniques often ruin the dramatic potential of nighttime images.

In Digital Capture After Dark you will learn to overcome these and other obstacles. You will go beyond the many “how-to’s” of capturing digital images at night to the “why-to’s” of long exposure photography; including the importance of how we think and see at night compared to during the day.

Also discussed are hands-on image editing techniques that will help you prepare your images for output. Detailed descriptions cover color balancing, expanding dynamic range, controlling flare, dealing with noise, converting to black-and-white, toning, and much more.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Authors
  6. Contributors
  7. Foreword by Philipp Scholz Rittermann
  8. About This Book
  9. Part I: Preparations
    1. Chapter 1 Equipment
      1. 1.1 Introduction
      2. 1.2 Choosing a Camera
        1. Handling and Ergonomics
        2. Viewfinders/Live View
        3. Manual Controls
          1. Manual Exposure Control
          2. Long Exposure Capability
        4. Lens Interchangeability
        5. Sensor Size
        6. Sensor Signal-to-Noise Ratio
        7. Good Battery Life
        8. Mirror Lock-Up Feature
        9. Price
      3. 1.3 Choosing Lenses
        1. Lens Speed (Light-Gathering Power)
        2. Flare
      4. 1.4 Other Equipment
        1. Tripod
        2. Cable Release
        3. Lens Hood
        4. Extra Batteries
        5. Car Charger
        6. Flashlight
        7. Clothing, Footwear, Food, and Drink
        8. A Buddy and Mobile Phones
    2. Chapter 2 Getting Started
      1. 2.1 Introduction
      2. 2.2 Picking a Spot
      3. 2.3 Setting Up
        1. RAW Files
        2. ISO
          1. Native ISO
          2. High ISO
        3. In-Camera Noise Reduction
        4. Manual Focus
        5. White Balance
        6. Histograms
        7. Preventing Flare
        8. Setting Your Exposures
          1. In-Camera Metering
          2. Bracketing
      4. 2.4 A Checklist for Night Photography
    3. Chapter 3 Caveats
      1. 3.1 Introduction
      2. 3.2 Gauging Exposure
        1. Don’t Trust Your LCD
        2. Histograms
          1. Reading a Histogram
          2. Clipping
        3. Controlling Flare
        4. Auto Focus
          1. Focusing in Low Light
          2. Maintaining Focus
        5. Tripod
        6. Cable Release
        7. Inclement Weather
          1. Water
          2. Cold
          3. High Humidity and Salty Environments
  10. Part II: Capture
    1. Chapter 4 What to Photograph
      1. 4.1 Finding Your Way in the Dark
        1. Urban Landscape
          1. City Landscapes
          2. Industry
          3. Waterfront
          4. City Streets
        2. Wide-Open Landscapes
          1. Deserts
          2. Plains
          3. Mountains
          4. Beaches
        3. Atmosphere
        4. Night Movement
          1. Movement in the Scene
          2. Light Drawing
          3. Star Trails and Meteors
          4. Moving Light Sources
        5. Combinations
    2. Chapter 5 From Dusk ’Til Dawn
      1. 5.1 Introduction
      2. 5.2 Dusk
        1. Start When You Can See
        2. Meter and Bracket
        3. Magic Hour
        4. Color We Can’t See
        5. Atmosphere at Dusk
      3. 5.3 Night
        1. Pocket Your Meter
        2. Light Stability
          1. Luxury of Time
          2. Mostly Stable, Most of the Time
          3. Exceptions to the Rule
        3. Capturing Images for Expansion
          1. Camera Settings
          2. Camera Setup
          3. Image Capture
        4. Elusive Dark
        5. Night for Day
        6. Disadvantages
      4. 5.4 Dawn
    3. Chapter 6 Atmospheric Conditions
      1. 6.1 Introduction
        1. Fog
          1. General Fog Blanket
          2. Low-Moving Fog
          3. Fog and Moonlight
          4. Shooting in the Fog
        2. Rain
          1. Using Rain
          2. Wet Pavement
          3. Shooting in the Rain
        3. Rain and Fog
        4. Snow
          1. Shooting in the Snow
        5. Low Cloud Ceiling
        6. Moonlight
          1. Basics of Shooting in the Moonlight
          2. Moon Trails
        7. Other Conditions
    4. Chapter 7 Movement
      1. 7.1 Introduction
        1. Why We Use Long Exposures
      2. 7.2 Blurring Movement
      3. 7.3 Distinguishing Movement
      4. 7.4 Blurry and Sharp Motion
        1. Dragging the Shutter
        2. Flash Control
          1. Flash Position
          2. Control Your Flash
        3. Multiplying Your Subject
    5. Chapter 8 Light Painting
      1. 8.1 Introduction
      2. 8.2 Clean Graffiti
        1. Your Paintbrushes
          1. Fine Point
          2. Midrange
          3. Broad Strokes
          4. Specialty Tools
        2. Your Palette
          1. Global Color Adjustments
          2. Color Your Brushes
      3. 8.3 The Basics of Light Painting
        1. Darkness
        2. Time
        3. Positioning
  11. Part III: After Capture
    1. Chapter 9 Basic File Processing
      1. 9.1 Introduction
      2. 9.2 Image Extraction
      3. 9.3 Processing Your RAW Files
        1. Space
        2. Depth
        3. Size
        4. Resolution
      4. 9.4 Processing Your Individual Files
      5. 9.5 Output
    2. Chapter 10 Increasing Dynamic Range
      1. 10.1 Introduction
      2. 10.2 Capturing Images for Expansion
      3. 10.3 Importing Images for Expansion
      4. 10.4 Layering Images
        1. Layering Your Images
        2. Adding Highlight Information to Your Main Exposure
        3. Adding Shadow Information to Your Main Exposure
        4. Final Adjustments
        5. Results
    3. Chapter 11 Selective Smart Sharpening
      1. 11.1 Introduction
      2. 11.2 Proper Workflow Process
      3. 11.3 Create an Edge Mask
        1. Creating a Summary Layer
      4. 11.4 Smart Sharpening
      5. 11.5 Applying the Mask
    4. Chapter 12 Black-and-White, Color, or Somewhere in Between?
      1. 12.1 Introduction
      2. 12.2 Black-and-White
        1. Adobe Lightroom
        2. Adobe Photoshop
          1. Channel Conversion
          2. Black-and-White Adjustment Layer
        3. Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2
      3. 12.3 Color
        1. Adobe Lightroom
        2. Adobe Photoshop
        3. Nik Software Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete and Viveza 2
          1. Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete
          2. Viveza 2
      4. 12.4 Somewhere in Between
        1. Adobe Lightroom
        2. Adobe Photoshop
    5. Chapter 13 Panoramic HDR Imaging at Night
      1. 13.1 Introduction
      2. 13.2 Panoramic Photography
        1. The Possibilities
        2. The Images
      3. 13.3 Panoramic HDR Imaging
        1. The Possibilities
        2. The Images
  12. Conclusion
  13. Index