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How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?


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  • [Question] How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

    Yesterday I bought my first SLR camera. The Canon T3i. I like this camera sofar but I want to be able to master darkride photos without the blur. Micechatters. You have so much experience in taking photos in rides and many of you own SLRs. What settings do you prefer. Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

    Faster Shutter Speed, higher aperture? someone tell me if I'm right
    Since May 2003


    • #3
      Re: How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

      As high an ISO as you can get without too much noise (modern cameras like the one you bought are pretty solid performers at high ISO). I've had moderate luck at ISO 1600 (on my much older Rebel XT), but feel free to try higher if your camera can handle it.

      Also, you'll want to get a fast lens. Canon's practically disposable 50mm/f1.8 lens can be had for well under $100 and is perfectly serviceable for this use. It will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds since the aperture can be opened far enough to let plenty of light in. If you can afford the 50mm/1.4 or 35mm/1.4 or even the super pricey L-series 50mm/1.2, those will allow even more flexibility.

      You'll want to manually focus, more than likely - cameras and lenses aren't great at focusing in black light/specialty lighting environment. I usually shoot full manual on rides and adjust the settings as necessary. I also turn off the LCD so as not to bother other riders and essentially shoot "blind" (like back in the days of film). It's a nice thing about digital, if you take an entire ride's worth of bad pictures, just delete them, adjust your settings accordingly and jump back in line.

      Lastly, you'll still need a steady hand and a bit of luck. I don't have the steadiest hand in the world, so I compensate by taking A LOT of shots. In a typical Haunted Mansion ride through, I may take upwards of 60-80 shots and be happy if there's two or three worth keeping. Another advantage to shooting digital.

      I'm no professional photographer, just a hobbyist with pretty basic equipment, but those are the things I've found to work in the past.


      • #4
        Re: How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

        I think he covered it pretty good. If you have the option pick up on of the 50mm lens's if not at least set your camera in apeture mode. get the lens open as far as you can. and let the camera do the thinking on the rest of the settings. I have used manual focus the most. I set the camera to infinity focus and then try and plan out my shots.

        One other trick would be to put your camera in continuous shooting mode. This will help you compensate for the movement of the ride or the scene that you are shooting. Out of 3-4 pictures that you take of each thing you might be lucky and get one good clear photo.

        For more detailed tutorial on it see this thread.

        Hope that helps


        • #5
          Re: How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

          Congratulations on your new camera!

          For dark rides, I'd set it in Aperture-priority mode, and use a high-ISO.

          One thing to remember is the wider your aperture, the shallower your depth of field (whether your backgrounds are in focus or not). Best bet- focus on a scene that you are approaching, set your shutter to continuous, and crank out shots as you come up to the scene. Your distance will be changing, as you approach, and with any luck your scene will be in focus in one of the shots.

          Gods bless digital!!!
          I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.


          • #6
            Re: How To Take Dark Ride Photos Without Motion Blur?

            Here are the major things you will need to do.
            1. Shoot in RAW! This way you can adjust the color temperature in the computer. The camera will not get it right on Auto White Balance. Most of the dark rides need to have the color temp dropped down to between 2600 and 3000. RAW also gives you much better noise reduction than a jpeg will do. YOU WILL NEED TO DO SOME NOISE REDUCTION ON THEM!

            2. Shoot in Continuous Shooting mode and take 3 or 4 shots of the same scene. Most of the time the 3rd shot will be the sharpest.

            3. Ask for the front row and Shoot the scene as you are heading straight at it. It is easier to focus on. If you are one foot closer or farther, the focus won't matter. If you wait till you are shooting it as you go by it, you are too late and it will be blurry.

            4. Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode and set the aperture as large as your lens will allow. If you are using the kit 18-55 lens this will be at F/3.5 when backed out to 18mm. Remember if you zoom, the lens will make the aperture smaller, thus slowing the shutter speed and making pictures blurry. Stay back at 18mm and crop to the scene to what you want later in the computer. Your file size at 18 mega pixels is plenty big enough to crop out 90% of the photo and still have it sharp enough to print. Don't worry about depth of field at large apertures like F/3.5 or even if you have the 50mm F/1.8 lens. You won't have any problem with depth of field because it only comes into effect if you are very close to the subject. In a large scene like a ride, you won't see any depth of field issues. I use a 50mm F/1.4 lens and don't see any blur from a large aperture.

            5. For the darkest rides like Pirates or Haunted Mansion, set your ISO to 3200. For other dark rides that have brighter lighting and you are closer to the subject stay at 1600.

            6. Drop your Exposure Compensation down at least 1 full stop. It might even be better at -1 1/3 or -1 2/3. This will give you a faster shutter speed and less blur and darker blacks.

            7. Manual Focus will help, but it can be difficult if you aren't used to doing it. The only time I've needed to use Manual Focus is in scenes in Pirates like the skeleton at the wheel or the snake in Indy. Other than the darkest scenes, auto focus works fine. If you aren't used to using your camera or manual focus, stay on auto focus. If you can't get it to focus on a certain scene, don't worry about it, you wouldn't have gotten a good shot of it anyway and you will miss more than you will get of other scenes. (It might also be a good lesson for you to experience what happens when the auto focus doesn't work and what type of scene it doesn't work in.)

            8. The best ride to practice in is It's a Small World. It is good lighting, you are pretty close to a lot of the scenes. You can get away with an ISO at 800 - 1600.

            9. If you can, turn off the display after shot function. People behind you don't want to see your LCD screen light up after every picture you take. It also slows down the camera. I have a piece of black leather that I put over my LCD when shooting any dark area. This way I can lift it up if I have to see something and it doesn't bother the people around me.

            10. Most importantly, TURN OFF YOUR FLASH!

            Have fun!
            Life is far too short for bland food!

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