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Scottsdale art district

By makeupmagic    
This is the heart of the Scottsdale AZ art district. So many small businesses and art galleries full of world famous artists. This is the time of year owners make the most money to get them through the year, and small businesses struggle without the snow birds and tourists.
I am so saddened by this.
I have difficult time setting up for night shots. What better settings could I have used?

Tags: Photo journalism Scottsdale Art

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dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 684 England
16 Apr 2020 8:27PM
There are a couple of approaches.

This image suffers from camera movement so it isn't sharp. At 1/25 and a focal length of 70 mm you risk an unsharp image if the camera isn't firmly supported. The 'rule of thumb' suggests using a shutter speed that's a reciprocal of the focal length, so 1/70 would be required. It's not an exact science as different people vary in their handholding abilities. It has a snappy ring to it which is why I guess it's often quoted. Nonetheless it;s a guide, and I'd have been lookimng top use 1/125 or higher to be safe.

So, firstly, to get that higher shutter speed I'd have set the ISO higher. Your camera is good so ISO 6400 would have been ok. A little noise abd sharp is better than unsharp.

And secondly, use of a tripod (or resting the camera on a solid support such as a wall; while a wall may not have been convenient here it's worth looking around when in other locations if needs be).
It would then be easy to shoot at the settings you used without worrying about camera shake. But, as the camera is fixed and the subject isn't exactly moving, I'd set a smaller aperture so yopu have sufficient depth of field to cover the scene from the sculpture to the background. And because then you'd also have the freedom to use a lower ISO for optimum quality. Somehting like ISO 200, f/8 and 3 seconds would be the same exposure (if I've counted my stops correctly!).

Finally, this needs a small clockwise rotation.

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chase Plus
14 1.7k 417 England
16 Apr 2020 8:32PM
Keith has given you the info that you need here. A tripod is essential kit whilst doing low light stuff.

As well as the very slight rotation, I would have cropped off that top string of lights, it isn't attached to anything that I can see in the frame, scrolling the image takes them out of my eyeline and improves the composition of the image.
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4150 Canada
16 Apr 2020 10:14PM
All of the above. However were assuming you dont have the VR version of this lens? If you have, then this shutter speed would have worked more than likely.

If not, dont use Manual mode, but use Shutter priority and set it to something faster than the focal length you are using. As suggested above, going a little faster, like 1/125 would give a crisp shot at the expense of a higher ISO. (leave ISO set to Auto)

To get a cleaner, less noisy, lower ISO shot, use a tripod, set ISO to 200, aperture priority mode and set the aperture you want, then let the camera take care of along shutter opening, which will look good as long as the tripod is solid, and rather than touch and release the shutter, set the shutter more to self timer press it, let go and wait the 2 seconds or so and the camera will take the shot without the risk of vibration caused by your finger.

Also loaded a mod with the small rotation.BTW, using the tripod gives you the time to ensure the shot is perfectly level, another bonus!


16 Apr 2020 10:41PM
No VR on that lens, I should have had the 70-200 with me and of course the tripod. I am back in Sedona so cant do a do-over but will try some of the settings suggested if I get a chance later.
I like the modification you did. Actually, Im not so concerned about the quality because I am trying to get quick shots of how this shutdown has affected our lives but want to know what I could have done better under the circumstances. My business is shut down and I am very depressed and want others to see what this is causing to real people.
I love you modification! Thank you all.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2248 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2020 9:08AM
I'm a bit late here and the technical side has been covered. I'll add two further thoughts though.

Quote:I am trying to get quick shots of how this shutdown has affected our lives but want to know what I could have done better under the circumstances. My business is shut down and I am very depressed and want others to see what this is causing to real people.

My heart goes out to people in this situation, so many millions of lives are affected. And I do think it is important to document what is happening. Can I suggest that if you want to convey the emotional impact of the present emptiness of city streets, night time is not the best time - because we expect town centres to be empty of shoppers at night, it's nothing unusual.

Daytime, with shuttered shops and maybe one lone figure where normally we would expect to see dozens - that will tell the story more effectively.

Ignoring the emotional aspect, as a composition this would work much better for me with less foreground and a bit more sky. At present there is a fair amount of empty paving at the bottom, so the sculpture sort of floats in space; and the string of lights at the top, which could frame the image, is clipped.

I've tried to demonstrate how that string of lights could work better with the camera at a slightly different angle, in a very crude modification. Can I suggest that when composing you pay attention to what is happening at the edges of the frame, because problems there will seriously distract the viewer's eye.

I hope that soon this will just be a bad memory.
dudler Plus
17 1.2k 1680 England
17 Apr 2020 9:14AM
For walking around at night, there's nothing to beat a wide-aperture fixed focal length lens, I reckon, plus high ISO.

My standard on-the-shoulder kit at night is the usual Alpha 7 and 85mm lens in Aperture priority, but set to 3200 ISO and f/2.8. I have the benefit of body-integral IS, so it works with every lens.

Focus can be an issue at night, even with really good AF, as you have on that Nikon. If in dubt, pick a light at the sort of distance you want sharpest, and single-point AF. Focus on the point and lock focus, then recompose and shoot. Alternatively - and this is a really good way to shoot in a lot of circumstnaces, use back button focus - worth looking up online or in yoru manual.

I am incredibly lucky at present: retired, so my income is stable, and in the UK, where - largely - the politicians are taking the advice of the experts. And, while I am not sure how well it's working in practice, part of the initial response from our government was massive help for businesses, of all sizes. My heart goes out to all those in countries that are suffering more than we are - and it's definitely bad enough for many in the UK.
HI Marilyn,

I'm new to all this myself, and I'm looking at everyone's images as to learn.
I have uploaded a mod I did tonight (again as learn), let me know what you think.
Thanks for sharing this image.
PS. I would love to see what's the other side the monument.
19 Apr 2020 12:30AM
Hi Tony, yes, I like the modification! Nice
19 Apr 2020 12:34AM
The sculpture is in the center of the round about, in the heart of the art gallery area, many galleries, small restaurants and tourist shops, Indian jewelry, tee shirts etc. Any night of the week, it is teeming with people of every age. The young come for the social bars and restaurants, the older for the galleries but all come just to walk around in the evening and enjoy the heart of Scottsdale. It is so sad to be there at this time of evening and see empty streets.

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