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Thread: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

  1. #1

    Default How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    I want to take some beam shots but my camera/ or me are no good at it.

    What kind of camera's are people on this foum using to take their beam shots? Are they using a Digital SLR? I only have the cheaper digital camera not slr.

    PEter

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Somy Nex's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    you'll need to be able to adjust the exposure (shutter speed/aperture) of your camera. what camera do you have?
    Somy Nex

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    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    you need a camera that can at least have a manual exposure mode/ manual focus.

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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Manual exposure and a tripod.

    If you compare two lights in the same photo, you can use automatic exposure, but you still need a tripod or some other stable place for the camera.

    This question is better to ask in "The Dark Room", but a moderator will probably move this thread.
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    Flashaholic* Solscud007's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Some point and shoot cameras can adjust exposure time. My old sony could do it. Most people use Digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. as those cameras have manual control over every aspect.
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    Default

    1st of all You need a real powerful light, the more focused, the better
    and some "debrits"/dust/fog in the air helps a lot also

    then set flash to OFF, aperture (is that the ISO-thing?) to a low value, 100-200.
    Then in menu the aperture time to as much as possible.
    (I have never yet seen a "crap" camera that could not do that)

    then try.


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    Flashaholic* Solscud007's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    You would be surprised. I have used plenty of cameras that don't control/adjust exposure time. It is always automated by the camera's built in light meter.
    Collecting is not about what you have but rather what you DONT have . . . yet.
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Like others have said, you need ufll manual exposure if you want to compare beamshots, especially their brightness, a few point and shoot cameras have this feature.

    If not, you can directly compare multiple beamshots in one picture, but you'll at least need to be able to adjust the exposure compensation. If your camera has an exposure priority mode, it can also work since setting the exposure t a fast enough speed will force the camera to adjust the other parameters to the maximum, but it still wont be enough.

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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    I'll move your thread into the Dark Room. Don't worry, that's not a dungeon, lol - it's our specialist photographic sub-forum. The experts there will have some tips for you.
    Resistance is futile...

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    Flashaholic* EV_007's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Wait for a foggy night or shoot real learly in the morning before sunrise where there is more moisture in the air for the beam to refract off of.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Well the missus just got a Canon IXUS 100
    http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Ca...S_IXUS_100_IS/

    I will put it on the tripod and try that way.

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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    That camera has a "Long Shutter Speed" preset - otherwise, you can't manually adjust the shutter speed. It's going to automatically try and take what it considers to be the "best" picture it can. Great little pocket cam, but not great for stuff like this. IMHO, and YMMV!

    Please share your results with us - a tripod always helps and maybe with the Long Shutter Speed preset, something nice might come out - who knows!

    john

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    Flashaholic* DaFABRICATA's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by EV_007 View Post
    Wait for a foggy night or shoot real learly in the morning before sunrise where there is more moisture in the air for the beam to refract off of.


    This is a good way to get a very clear picture of the acual beam shape.

    Here is a Surefire Hellfighter on a semi-foggy night.

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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by apples View Post
    Well the missus just got a Canon IXUS 100
    http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Ca...S_IXUS_100_IS/

    I will put it on the tripod and try that way.
    I have a suggestion that can give you full manual control. Camera nerds across the world have developed the (free) Canon Hacker Developer's Kit (CHDK) to give greater control over many Canon cameras. I use it on a Powershot SX110 mainly for longer exposures. It can also run scripts, like motion detection (With focus set, take a picture the instant the preview screen detects change) for lightning pictures. I've had good luck with this software, and it rarely causes problems with the camera. It's simple to install and seems like it will let you do what you want (Manual control of a camera). Note that sensor quality is extremely apparent in very long exposures.

    Unfortunately, it looks like support for your camera isn't quite done - consider it a coming upgrade. A good place to keep an eye on the status is the first post here, the CHDK forum. Until then, I can suggest having the light very near the lens, pointing at a dark background (sky), with fog or dust in the air.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    I have also got an older Panasonic DMC-TZ1 and a new video camera which has an 8mp camera in it, the Canon HFS10.

    Canon HFS10- http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17993

    Panasonic - http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/TZ1/TZ1A.HTM

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by apples View Post
    I have also got an older Panasonic DMC-TZ1 and a new video camera which has an 8mp camera in it, the Canon HFS10.

    Canon HFS10- http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17993

    Panasonic - http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/TZ1/TZ1A.HTM
    Quick check of the link to your Panasonic , check the "Con" section:
    No Manual exposure mode or Shutter/Aperture Priority modes

    Unfortunately that's really a con for you. Because your camera is restricted to automatic , you can't tell it to do what you need it to do.
    You don't need to know about photography , someone can tell you what settings to use if you have the ability to manually set.

    Check the manual for your wife's Ixus. Manual exposure is to look for.
    The good news is there are cheap digital cameras that do have manual exposure , so if you want to take beamshots you will be able to.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic chew socks's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Im not sure if anyone else posted it, but the beam will appear to be brighter if the camera is held closer to the light like in DaFABRICATA's picture.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* run4jc's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I take a photo of a light beam at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaFABRICATA View Post
    This is a good way to get a very clear picture of the acual beam shape.

    Here is a Surefire Hellfighter on a semi-foggy night.

    OMG - shock and awe!!


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