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Old 03-12-2013, 01:32 PM   #10348
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Originally Posted by spwaterockit View Post
Wow... I never would have thought of the car looking like its falling out of the frame. I knew something didn't quite look right, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Great suggestion, Thank you!

I promise this is my last night shot without proper lighting... I realize there are so many things wrong with this photo (cars growing trees, composition, lighting, etc.), but my question is particularly about photographing headlights and making them look natural. It seems even with a smaller f-stop (high number), I get quite a glare from the lights as a result of trying to properly expose the rest of my subject. Any suggestions to this effect?
Sure thing! As far as this night shot goes, it's important to take a step back and think about what you're asking your camera to do. You've got a dark scene overall, and then headlights that are the complete opposite of it. If you were just to look at a car in the headlights just your own two eyes, what happens? Given how dark it is, you end up squinting in order to make out details, but even then you can't really make out everything. This is taken more to an extreme when you try to do this with a camera. You can think of stopping down/making the aperture smaller as squinting, but then you've got a camera sensor that's nowhere near as sensitive as our own retinas. Thus, what you're asking for is pretty much impossible with one single exposure.

The trick most photographers do is take multiple exposures: one for the overall scene, and one to get the details from the headlights correct. Another trick is to just take a photo without the headlights on, and instead turn them on in post-processing. This other way is obviously the more complicated of the two. Either way though, you're more-or-less asking the impossible from your camera, especially if your own eyes can't do it.

Originally Posted by spwaterockit View Post
My other question relates to depth of field. I was expecting the trees in the background on this one to be much blurrier compared to the car. Is it perhaps too much backlight?

I was going more for something like this. The fencing in the background of this one is much closer to the car than the trees in the one above. How can I better control my depth of field?

Any other suggestions about how I could have better shot the second two? I think its time for a polarizer

Thanks as always!
Well, since there's no EXIF attached to either image, I can't say for sure, but it looks like you shot at a wider angle in the first shot compared to zooming in more on the second shot. Remember, DOF is affected by your aperture settings AND your focal length. The longer the focal length, the thinner you can get with your DOF. Shooting at wide angle, it's much more difficult to isolate a subject with a thin DOF, since you'd need the right hardware to make it work. Generally speaking, you'd need to be using a camera with a full frame sensor and an aperture of É2.8 or wider.

As far as improving the last two shots, I'd say the composition is a little too tightly cropped overall, and I'd probably prefer to see more sky instead of concrete since it's more interesting.
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