Night lanscapes and misty mornings: my experience
Some months ago I wrote a blog on MISTY MORNINGS where I presentred some shoots taken by me last Summer at the Seliger Lake in Russia and accepted by DT. There were 8 images of starry nights and misty mornings there in that blog.
I have just finished to process all the photos dedicated to mist and fog that I took for several nights and only two mornings in August 2012. Almost all of them have been approved by DT and here they are:
Several tips for those who are going to shoot night landscapes and misty mornings.
1) Tripod and remote control (wireless is better but not obligatory) are mandatory since exposures can be extremely long, especially for night shots - up to 0.5...1.0 hours.
2) Use 'noise suppression' mode to avoid hot pixels.
3) Do not try to go above ISO100. Such kind of shots are extremely sensitive to the termal noise, so one has to undertake all the measures to avoid them.
4) Save image only in RAW. Histogram for night landscapes and morning mists is typically very narrow and you will want to stretch it out. JPEG format does not allow that since streatching out the 'JPEG' histogram leads easily to different kind of artefacts. RAW is much more suitable for such kind of processing. NB: for me, RAW is mandatory for any kind of shots.
5) When processing do not strive to get the histogram uniformity, as it is naturally for 'common' shots. 'Night' hisogram should have a lack of counts at the right part since there are lack of bright objects. On the contrary, 'misty' histogram should have a lack of counts at the left part (or even be absolutely empty there) since due to fog there are no dark objects.
6) When processing convert RAW to 16-bit TIFF, then process it and save the final result only as 8-bit JPEG.
7) Both at nights and at morningrs watch carefully the camera and lens: dew might happen to condense on them.
8) If your lens is not too excellent and expensive use the wide angle (saying 15...20mm for crop-factor 1.6) and apertures f/4...f/5.6 both for for night and misty shots. Then, on the one hand, you will get light enough, and from other hand all the chromatic effects will be not so noticeable. The good lens limits you much less when choosing focal distance and aperture.
9) The mist hunt requires lot of patience. You have to wake up at 4am each moning for 2 or 3 weeks and go to the place you choose for shooting and only 1 or 2 (in the best case!) you will see the real mist.
10) The last (but not the least): have a luck! :)
Photo credits: Igor Sokalski.