Night 2.

I bought my Canon D60 Digital SLR camera in February 2003 and did not make any effort to try night shots with it for a few months but my intention was always there so I ordered up a Canon Cable release for use when I was ready to have a go, being Electronic and the only type suitable for the job it was expensive at over GBP40.

As with most camera's I could set the self timer to 10 seconds and wait for the shot to be taken but the two drawbacks with this method are that if you are shooting something that has pushed back from Stand and ready to taxi you will only get 2 or 3 shots off (that's what I found at Dusseldorf) and there is always a chance that a breeze can cause camera shake resulting in the loss of some photos and the other problem is the flashing light counting down before taking the shot draws attention to yourself at night and increases the chance of getting hassled if not on a Spectators Terrace.

At Glasgow Airport the lighting didn't look too bad to my eyes and I took some shots by having the Digital camera on my Tripod with only two feet out and leaning it against the fence as it is the small square type made of thin wire so presents little problems.

With the Cable release plugged in I positioned the camera (with a 28-105mm small diameter lense onboard) at the correct height to shoot between the wire, it is not difficult and with practice takes about 30 seconds all in to set up.

This was my first effort so after after taking 11 shots in Large Jpeg mode at two different exposure settings I quickly packed up and headed home looking forward to seeing what kind of results I would get.

After downloading them from my 512mb C/F Card into the PC and opening up the images in my Viewer program I was disappointed to see the heavy yellow/red tinted images, not what I expeced to see considering the lighting looked okay to my eyes when I was out there taking the photos.

Airports lighting can have a quite drastic effect on your photos at night and you find that the majority of Airports use lights that tends to be on the yellow side so this does make it more difficult to achieve good results.

Some people have asked why would I want to reduce this colour cast when it is the lighting conditions the Airport has and suggest leaving it as seen in the photos but I don't agree, when you compare what you see with your eyes against results from the photos on your PC the colours are completely different.

Here is a image straight from the camera and not altered in colour only cropped and straightened slightly and as you can see it looks horrible, imagine working on the Ramp under conditions like this it would be like wearing orange tinted glasses.

(Glasgow 30-8-03).

My initial reaction when seeing how discoloured the lighting looked on the Spanair A321 was to rule out night shots from then on so I left it for a while but decided on another look a couple of weeks later.

I loaded up a scan in Photoshop to explore what I could do to try and alter it back to something more natural and as similar as possible to what my eyes were seeing so after trying various ideas I settled on reducing the reds and yellows using IMAGE - ADJUSTMENTS - HUE/SATURATION, then using COLOUR BALANCE for further colour changes.

G-FCLD 757
Thomas Cook
(Glasgow 30-8-03).

G-FCLD 757
Thomas Cook
(Glasgow 30-8-03).

The two thumbs above are my before and after versions of a Thomas Cook 757 at Glasgow, the one on the left is straight out of the camera and on the right I have tried my best to correct the colours back to a what I saw when I was taking my shots.

I noticed the heavy colour tint was more difficult to remove in the Spanair A321 photo than the Thomas Cook 757 and I put this down to the slight daylight left in the sky when I took the T Cook 757 photo, as it happens this came in useful later on after receiving some advice on different ways to try and improve my night photos.

I went back to the shop that I bought my Canon D60 at and asked what I could do to reduce the heavy yellow effect in my night shots caused by the tinted light bulbs and the person suggest buying a blue filter to counteract it, I did this and at night put it on my lense after dark and looked outside with my camera but the light reading I got was off the scale and required another 20 seconds exposure time to bring the meter reading back to center so this defiantely wasn't going to work and I took it back next day for a refund.

Back at the shop I explained to a different assistant the problem I had and what I was trying to do in correcting the false colours at night, fortunately she also had a Canon D60 of her own and knew more about it than the previous assistant. This time I was advised to shoot in Canon RAW mode and load up in Canon RAW Image Converter then use a Filter in the software to help correct the problem.

I'm always interested to try out new ideas in Photoshop so I loaded up a previously saved RAW file and tried out each of the different Filters available to see what effect they would have on my orange looking photo, what I found was the Tungsten Filter performed best and there was a reasonable improvement in colour tones but nothing spectacular on ones after dark.

A few days later I was viewing my night shots taken in RAW mode and loaded up an Air Scotland 757 taken just before darkness, this was one I was keen to improve to add it to my web site because it had taken me 3 months to catch it on the best Stand for this.

As with the others it had a strong yellow/red tint due to the lighting at Glasgow and completely different to how it appeared when I was looking at it so I applied the Tungsten Filter in Canon RAW Image Converter and what a difference it made straight away, this now made it into a photo I could work with and improve.

The Tungsten option is a blue Filter that helps to cancel out the strong yellow colour cast and although too much on the blue side it is easier to remove some of that colour than the strong red/yellow tint.

SX-BLV 757
Air Scotland
(Glasgow 15-3-04).

SX-BLV 757
Air Scotland
(Glasgow 15-3-04).

SX-BLV 757 Air Scotland (Glasgow 15-3-04) (80mm 4 seconds @ F6.7)

I tried the Tungsten Filter on another photo taken an hour later when it was totally dark but like my first trial the effect on the colours of the photo was not as good so this leads me to the conclusion that when I want to take some night shots of an unusual visitor it is best done just before complete darkness when there is still a slight touch of light left in the sky.

RAW Mode definately allows you more options when working on false colours caused by the off white Airport lighting and if you have a camera capable of a RAW Mode option it is definately the best option to use it.

Digital shots can often be effected by the tinted Airport lights and the same goes for shooting slides and then scanning them, both methods produce the same sort of results so it is worth using Photosoftware to try and correct the problem.

Having said this the actual slides look really good to view so what I am inclined to do from now on is shoot only slides after dark and Digital just before darkness and of course the occasional slide as well since both cameras can be used on the standard Tripod fitting.

(Glasgow 30-8-03).

G-GRID Twin Squirrel
National Grid
(Glasgow 9-9-03).

(Glasgow 14-10-03).

OO-SLW 737
(Glasgow 5-11-03).

071 CN235
French Air Force
(Glasgow 28-11-03).

G-OOBC 757
First Choice
(Glasgow 18-12-03).

TF-ELC 737
(Glasgow 18-2-04).

SX-BLW 757
Air Scotland
(Glasgow 30-4-04).

N14115 757-200
(Glasgow 12-9-05).

OK-TVR 737
(Glasgow 16-9-05).

1) EC-INB A321 Spanair (Glasgow 30-8-03) (55mm 4 seconds @ F5.6)
2) G-GRID Twin Squirrel National Grid (Glasgow 9-9-03) (145mm 15 seconds & F5.6)
3) OE-LSP EMB145 Rheintalflug (Glasgow 14-10-03) (105mm 10 seconds & F5.6)
4) OO-SLW 737 Sobelair (Glasgow 5-11-03) (68mm 3 seconds & F6.7)
5) 071 CN235 French Air Force (Glasgow 28-11-03) (145mm 15 seconds & F5.6)
6) G-OOBC 757 First Choice (Glasgow 18-12-03) (70mm 3 seconds & F5.6)
7) TF-ELC 737 Flyglobespan (Glasgow 18-2-04) (75mm 6 seconds @ F9.5)
8) SX-BLW 757 Air Scotland (Glasgow 30-4-04) (55mm 6 seconds @ F6.7)
9) N14115 757 Continental (Glasgow 12-9-05) ( )
10) OK-TVR 737 Globespan (Glasgow 16-9-05) ( )

Page 1 My First Night Shots.

Page 3 On My Travels.
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