I am going to Costa Rica in an area that has an active volcano that is suppose to "glow at night". I am, unfortunatley, not good at all at taking pictures at night-- its that whole flash concept- and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I will be using my F100 and SB-28 speedlight. Don't know about the lens yet? But would a zoom lens complicate things when trying to guess the shutter speed with the flash???
#1. "RE: Photographing volcanoes" In response to Reply # 0
What are you trying to accomplish? Night shots of the volcano or do you want people in front of it (with the volcano off in the distance)? If you want people right at the volcano, I think 'the glow' will be bright enough that you don't need to worry about long shutter speeds. Just make sure you wear asbestos suits!
Back to being serious here, I would say the glow of the volcano would be very similar to shooting fireworks. You haven't completed your profile yet so I don't know what equipment you're using. Go with small apertures (f/11, f/16) and bulb exposure. Go with ISO 100 film. You must use a tripod for this also because you are going to hang the shutter open for several seconds. Take a lot of shots, varying the shutter speeds between 1 second to 10 seconds. Your perfect shot will be in there so take notes on camera settings! That way you will know what you need to do 'next time'.
If you can get high enough, you might want to shoot near dusk. That way, you might be able to get city lights with the volcano. Also the sky won't be totally dark so you can get the outline of the volcano against the night sky.
People in the foreground and the volcano in the background? Put your flash and camera on rear curtain sync (or slow sync). Put it up on a tripod and let it rip. People will be at the proper exposure (from the flash) and the volcano in the background will have the longer shutter to burn in (giving it more exposure).
--- "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -Confucius
#2. "RE: Photographing volcanoes" In response to Reply # 1
New York, US
Actually, i don't have much stuff. Am slowly gathering gear right now. So, i have a F100 with a 50mm and a SB-28 strobe. I'm thinking about either getting a 17-35mm and or 180 before i leave but can't decide yet. A zoom would be nice but too expensive. Will have a tripod though.
I was thinking of shooting it at night and trying to get some of its spurting on film. I know it will be from a pretty good distance b/c they are not letting people on the volcano.
Thanks for the slow sync tip too. I'll try it a few times.
#3. "RE: Photographing volcanoes" In response to Reply # 2
Columbia Heights, US
Hi again Leslie. Are you going to Arenal? You will be very far away from the Volcano because it is unsafe to get close. Your 17-35 will be ineffective in these shots as the glow will appear like a star in the distance. In a prior post to you I recommended either the 80-200 f/2.8 or 80-400 f/5.6 lens for your Costa Rican trip. These will be more useful in shooting the Volcano. You will also need a sturdy tripod as you will be shooting 20 second to 1 minute exposures. Finally, wish for the best weather as the volcano is often obscured by low clouds...
I suggest that you invest in a longer lens, and buy the 18-35mm zoom for your wide angle. I use this lens, it is 1/3 the price on the 17-35. Regards, Bruce www.owlseyenaturephotos.com