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Photographing in total darkness.
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Mar 25, 2005, 11:31 #1
Peted Posting Freak *****
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I admit it, I am a Scout Leader, I am also a Rock Activity Leader with Scouts and take Scouts caving. I like to take the camera along and take photos. To get close shots is pretty easy with the modern digitals, the V1 is amazing and the *ist Ds is pretty good up close but I want to photograph some of the bigger caverns and large areas but find it difficult to get good focus at these longer distances. Any ideas? Do I need to take some big lights?

[Image: Cave-2.jpg]

Cheers.

Pete


Mar 25, 2005, 17:30 #2
StudioJ Posting Freak *****
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Hmm total darkness, I have two ways that I know of doing it. The first only works for shorter ranges and involves using the focus assist lamp on the flash. Otherwise manual focus?

You could try using a torch to light up something you want to focus on perhaps. I bet you see some interesting sights down there.

Mar 25, 2005, 17:54 #3
Petographer Posting Freak *****
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The photos I took in this post http://www.shuttertalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=2416 were in pretty much total darkness. The shots you see where there is light coming from the ceiling hatches were quite a distance away. It was a 2 minute exposure. I suggest a tri-pod and a remote shutter release. Without these things you can pretty much forget it. Without any light what-so-ever you may be looking at exposures to 15 minutes. You'll just have to experiment.

Mar 25, 2005, 18:03 #4
Peted Posting Freak *****
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We are talking total darkness here, a two day exposure would still show nothing, you must use a flash. I have bought a Pentax 400FTZ flash secondhand but have not tried it in the caves yet, it has a spot beam but is proobably only good to about 3-4 metres or so. I tried it from about 15-20metres and it seemed pretty good used on a tree though.

[Image: tree-flash.jpg]

Mar 25, 2005, 19:14 #5
adam Posting Freak *****
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Set your camera on a tripod, open the shutter, then go up close to the tree and flash it manually Smile

Mar 25, 2005, 19:24 #6
StudioJ Posting Freak *****
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Oh that much darkness! Adam's suggestion is great, painting with light can be very effective. A long exposure with multiple flashes from different locations should give some very speccy results but you will need to experiment with the exposure times and flash power a bit.


Mar 25, 2005, 21:10 #7
Peted Posting Freak *****
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I was thinking that the multiple flash idea was a good one. Still have the problem of focusing properly I think I will just has to use a couple of big torches so i can maual focus properly.

Mar 26, 2005, 20:15 #8
shuttertalk Shuttertalker *******
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Hm... good question... I think most of the AF assist "beams" on compacts would be useless at distances over say 3 metres.

If the subject is in the distance perhaps you could manual focus at infinity, or just estimate the distance and use MF.

Those with infrared beams like on some SLRS or external flashes (like you pointed out) should work quite well...

Mar 26, 2005, 22:11 #9
Peted Posting Freak *****
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Many of the "normal" smaller zooms that I have seen don't manual focus to "infinity" unless you can see what you are focusing on. Looks like I will have to pull out my "old" 50mm primecos that does focus at infinity in the proper sense.

Mar 28, 2005, 20:57 #10
Don Schaeffer Posting Freak *****
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Did you ever try a flashlight?

--Don

Mar 28, 2005, 21:11 #11
Peted Posting Freak *****
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A flashlight will only light a small area, we all have headlights on out helmets of course. I am going caving again weekend after next but I am leading a party of younger people so will not have much time to take many photos for myself, will probably just take my V1 and get a few snaps of them crawling through some of the tighter places.


Mar 29, 2005, 13:25 #12
Don Schaeffer Posting Freak *****
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Sounds exciting.

--Don






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