Time Square At Night - SLR Settings

Discussion in 'Travel' started by minh_doan|1, May 10, 2007.

  1. Hi;

    I'm going to be in NYC next week and want to take some night pictures of Time
    Square with my new SLR camera (Olympus E500).

    The camera comes with a number of night presets that I will definitely try, but
    I want to start using manual mode as well to get used to it - with that in mind,
    what settings would you recommend for 'standard' night pictures of Time Square?

    By standard I mean a good clean picture of it as my eye sees it, nothing too
    blurry or overexposed, etc. I plan on having a tripod with me.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. mtk


    Hi Minh...Tripod, set lens at F8 or 11 depending on your d.o.f requirement. Simply bracket from there. If you have or can purchase inexpensively get a cable or remote release. This is fun stuff. Consider longer exposures for car head/tail light trails. Keep in mind that REALLY long exposures MAY do some goofy things to your pictures. My Nikon D70s will only handle up to around 30 minutes. Check on what your Oly will handle.
    Have Fun!
  3. mtk


    BTW Minh, Wide Angle lenses will probably be your best bet depending upon your taste.
  4. Get a Joby Gorillapod and make good use of the barricade/road divider, fence, garbage bin top, street sigh post, etc. Uset your camera's self timer and small aperture. Bracket. Tripod is impractical because there are just so many people. Also look for the Naked Cowboy in Times Square. Hope this helps.

    Joby Gorillapod:

  5. I recommend playing with your settings and just spend as much time as you can afford playing around. You can use what the cameras "auto" mode suggests as a start and go from there. If your tripod is not really small I recommend doing something to make it stand out so people will not stumble into it.
    I was laying in the street with the camera on a tripod just inches off the ground.​
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There's plenty of light in Times Square, and you may have a difficult time setting up a tripod, so just shoot at a reasonable shutter speed, maybe use Tv mode.
  7. How about going to your closest multiplex cinema and practising a bit from right in front of the big lights entrance tonight?

    Set up your tripod, let the camera autoexpose and look at the monitor and histogram. Jot down a few of the ok settings, use a wide lens, f/5.6 to f/11, Iso at ? sec = ? Try manual, too.

    You will see when you overexpose and when under ... it is all digital, so the only cost to you is the hour of time to learn all this simple stuff by yourself. And for yourself, too. Good luck!

    Practice makes perfect ...

    And Times Square will become a piece of cake, with faster shutter (I would assume 2 stops, maybe) speeds, because it is so much brighter there.
  8. Minh,

    Other than for shooting with flash and balancing it to the ambient light, I don't know how valuable the night presets will be in an area like Times Square. It doesn't cost anything to try, so what the heck.

    As Jeff mentions, setting up a tripod in Times Square will be difficult. Anyway, the lighting is bright enough to shoot hand held at ISO 400. I've done it numerous times with my Leicas and ISO 400 film. I used 35mm and 50mm f2 lenses so the maximum aperture of your lenses has to be taken into consideration. Use fairly wide lenses, practice good shutter release technique and it's very doable.

    I don't know what lenses you have, but faster is better. My base settings were 1/30 @ f2.8 with bracketing in 1/3 stops. Extrapolated to the maximum apertures of your lenses, you might want to start there. Obviously, 1/30 isn't going to freeze moving traffic (even in Manhattan), so pick your battles.

    The obvious advantage of shooting things like this with digital is the instant feedback so it shouldn't be hard to zero in on a range of usable exposures.

    Good luck.

  9. If you want to have some real fun get some Kodak 3200 B&W, set your camera to shutter priority @ 1/60th and shoot the people. Great place to take pictures.

Share This Page