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Discussion Starter #1
Halloween is over and all is put away but I was wondering.
How do some of you get such great night shots of your yards?
Most of mine came out blurry or just not clear.
I used a night setting with no flash. Is the secret simply using a tripod?
THANKS,
Lakedawgs
 

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Prince of Arkham Asylum
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Yup, you've got it. A tripod works wonders! It almost completely eliminates the shake. I actually use 200 or 400 ISO with no flash and get some fantastic shots. It sometimes does take a few tries before you get just the right shot. Using the timer helps as well because it gives the camera and tripot a couple of seconds to settle after you've hit the button. If you've got a remote, that's even better. :D

Try practicing at night throughout the year to find just the right settings on your camera. It took me quite a while to find the right settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both, that's exactly what I figured.
With the whirlwind to get props done and all setup and the amount of TOTs and friends that showed up photos just did not really come in to play.
Since we are starting next years props now; MIB, entry arch, witch and cauldron and coffin, I will be setup early and have plenty of time to get good pics.
Thanks for the idea about practicing night photos throughout the year. Great idea.
Thanks again,
Lakedawgs
 

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Yup, you've got it. A tripod works wonders! It almost completely eliminates the shake. I actually use 200 or 400 ISO with no flash and get some fantastic shots. It sometimes does take a few tries before you get just the right shot. Using the timer helps as well because it gives the camera and tripot a couple of seconds to settle after you've hit the button. If you've got a remote, that's even better. :D

Try practicing at night throughout the year to find just the right settings on your camera. It took me quite a while to find the right settings.
I agree with Joker, I do the same thing, tripod with the timer set at 3 secs and ISO set to 400 with flash off.

One other thing that wasn't mentioned which is a good trick and makes for perfect pictures it to take your pictures at twilight. It is just dark enough to see the lights and the prop, but just enough light to capture the object.

I know this isn't a Halloween pic. But it is a perfect example of the method used above. Unfortunately I didn't get a tripod until Nov last year but I bought it because my Halloween pics did not come out and so I could have it for Christmas.

 

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Psychomaniac
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A lot depends on your camera but no matter what you use, a tripod is a must. The best solution is a DSLR. That gives you complete control over exposure and ISO along with low noise. It also allows for an external shutter release but that's not critical (see below). The speed of the lens isn't critical because you can leave the shutter open as long as is needed. You'll want to stop down the lens a bit so you have good depth of field. You can also keep the ISO low so you don't have extra noise.

This shot is from my Canon 40D from this year...



If you don't have a DSLR then a "point and shoot" with manual controls is the next best option. These are pretty rare however. Most people just have a basic point and shoot digital camera. These are noisy and many have limited maximum shutter times but they're better than nothing. Set the self-timer so there is no camera shake on the tripod. If the camera has a night mode use it. Otherwise see if you can increase the ISO to max and put the camera in landscape mode (infinity focus).

Remember, practice makes perfect!
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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and if you don't have a tripod, a stepladder or stool works well also. ;)

Even the pulse in your hands will cause the camera to shake - there is no way you can hold it still enough to not get blurring due to the length of the exposure time.
 

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thanks to all for the tips, I knew I needed a tripod, wish I could find one on clearance, but just didn't have the money, I am making it a priority this year, plus I will practice with the diifferant settings during the year like Joke suggested.
Look at Best Buy, it is where I got mine. The one I have is actually on sale and it is a really nice tripod for the price. I am really happy with it. It has some nice features...

Dynex® - 60" Universal Tripod - DX-TRP60
 

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If you are using a digital camera you'll want to play with the settings... No flash... an exposure time between 1 and 4 seconds(depending how dark the scene is)....set the ISO to 200 or 400.

You'll also want a tripod, or at the very least have the camera braced against or atop of something to prevent any shaking.

I also bump up the exposure compensation (if your camera has that) by +1.

When taking the photo, take several using different angles and playing around with different settings. (Bracketing is what they call that)

Soon you'll be getting the shot you want.

Here is an example from my haunt this year.....


Other examples of my haunt using adjusted camera settings are here...
Halloween Forum - lilgeek's Album: Halloween 2008

Snap away and have fun!
 

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Psychomaniac
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623 Posts
You should be able to find very inexpensive tripods at Target and Wal-Mart. They're not the best in the world but they work fine with light digital cameras. As several posters pointed out, any flat surface that points the camera in the right direction will also work.

Yeah Mark, that's my $40 Dr. Shivers. He was a big hit. Here are links to the pictures and video...

Halloween 2008 - a set on Flickr

YouTube - Dead End Mannor

We're going to change up and make a lab scene for the Doc next year.
 
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