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Old 14th September 2013, 21:40   #1
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Default Night Photography & Safety

Hello team-bhpians,

Lot of members on this forum are photography enthusiasts. And lot of photography enthusiasts will definitely be interested in shooting at night. Now, in developed and more safer countries, night photography is no big deal. You want to take a shot? Head out with your camera and tripod, go out and shoot. Even if it is a slightly famous place, you can spot a bunch of photographers already.

However, in India, its a different case. It just doesn't feel safe. Lets say I wish to capture a night shot of my car on a highway. Or I want to capture a lake at night. Or I want to capture the milky way.

This thread aims to help photography enthusiasts on this forum to discuss safety issues on night photography in India. Members, please follow your dos and donts.



P.S. I do not have anything to contribute to this thread as of now. Am just clueless.

MODS, searched and didn't find a similar thread. There are few threads to post photographs. However, I feel, this is a separate thread in its own right.
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Old 14th September 2013, 23:32   #2
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Default re: Night Photography & Safety

True that, often when I am in the long exposure mood, I hunt down only crowded places. I am scared about my equipment and also about my ownself. As far as India goes, it is still a long journey from being a safe community, plus 10 people coming up and asking if you are a media guy or not? :P
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Old 15th September 2013, 05:37   #3
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Try using a mirror less camera. they are small and conspicuous and offer the same quality as a DSLR. It also remove that 'photographer' look and lets you blend into the surrounding. Good mirrorless cameras such as the nikon coolpix A and the fujifilm X series cameras also have very good low light capabilities.
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Old 15th September 2013, 10:10   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karthikpra View Post
... they are small and conspicuous ...
You mean inconspicuous?

In the 'light' of the recent incidents I would say take shelter in someone's home or your car, always be in groups and be quick. The cost of one's equipment, other property such as vehicle and life is so much more than a night shot of that lake.
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:23   #5
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Default re: Night Photography & Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by karthikpra View Post
Try using a mirror less camera. they are small and conspicuous and offer the same quality as a DSLR. It also remove that 'photographer' look and lets you blend into the surrounding. Good mirrorless cameras such as the nikon coolpix A and the fujifilm X series cameras also have very good low light capabilities.
I am not concerned about my DSLR but rather about my tripod which is the center of attraction!
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Old 15th September 2013, 15:57   #6
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Default re: Night Photography & Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
You mean inconspicuous?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devilwearsprada View Post
I am not concerned about my DSLR but rather about my tripod which is the center of attraction!
Even though i have a tripod, i hardly find use for it. A good camera with in-camera and lens IS system should cure your need for a tripod, especially if you shoot wide angle. Advances in low light performance (high ISO) have also helped. Most of the time a good exposure, ISO and shutter speed setting should be more than enough. Here is nice write up on the why tripods are irrelevant these days.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digi...-my-tripod.htm

There are still some situations which require tripods, but they are few and far between.
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Old 16th September 2013, 12:28   #7
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Smile re: Night Photography & Safety

Hi blue_pulsar,

Can you please elaborate on what concerns you to shoot at night, safety wise

I have been using my SLR for a lot of night shots for the last four years.
I am especially fond of long exposure shots and star trails. I must confess that i have never faced any problems regarding gear or my own safety anywhere !

I have even taken long exposure shots at night on Nice Road and BIAL Bangalore with tripods, but never faced/felt any threat.
For star trails I usually head on to wilderness and spend a night camping with the camera out in the open on the tripod without any concerns!

My advice would be to try and head out once and start by shooting and you will realize that nobody gives a damn about a lone shutterbug with a tripod standing on the side of the road by night.

IMHO, You just need a leap of faith !
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Old 16th September 2013, 12:52   #8
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Default re: Night Photography & Safety

What makes one afraid of night shoot is attention and fear or being alone - the kind of attraction we don't like! I would add below points to be considered while going on a night shoot -

- Know the place. You must be aware of the place where you are shooting so your guess work is minimized. If it is a known place, you feel safe automatically!
- Time your visit. Although photographers have their own sweet time spots for the objects they search, knowing the place you must be prepared to make amendments as needed. For example, your visits to the place around 3am may not be really needed, but the same objects can be shot much before midnight. So decide what you are looking can be seen comfortably at what time? And then venture out.
- Who is in? - See if you can get one o two additional people with you to join on the shoot. The company makes the night really beautiful! When its lonely, even the heavens are boring
- Know the surroundings. Once you are at the venue, its easier to get carried away with the atmosphere or by seeing what you were looking for. The key to safety is to be able to scan around and interpret those moments of uneasiness. A healthy middle age adult appearing to be "watching" you is a good sign to avoid photo shoot than an elderly uncle taking a late night walk.
- Keep it simple and minimum. Carry minimum gear as much as possible. A heavy camera bag with a lot of unwanted stuff at that shooting occasion is uncalled for.
- Rescue plan? - For many reasons, ensure someone else also knows where you are heading out. And keep that shiney smart phone with you - fully charged. The phone should be reachable all the time (with network coverage).

There could be many more hints that can very well be applicable for the general safety as well. But remember one thing - your life is more important than the gear you have. If at all any incident happens, that will be from the intentions of stealing/ theft. So protect yourself first and then gear!
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Old 16th September 2013, 23:30   #9
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Very interesting thread. Can totally relate to it due to a very recent experience in the family. No theft or anything but on the same lines.

The most important thing i think is knowing the enviroment and surroundings very well. Go there once during day light and explore the place and identify a good spot. Most importantly, IF possible find a company.

Last weekend my cousin uncle went for night photography at a lake not very far from the city. This place ia very well knowm for migrating birds and amazing views of the lake. Now uncle has this habit of going solo. He reached the spot at 4 am but soon after he settled he went to grab water from his car and tripped and fell. The fall was quite bad and left him with a fracture and he couldnt move. It took him a while to reach his phone which was near the tripod and then call his friends / family and the 108 emergency services. Also it took him some time to explain his exact location. It was almost 5:30 by the time help arrived and he was rushed to the hospital.

Lesson learned :
1. Avoid going solo.
2. If going solo, inform near n dear ones about your location.
3. Keep your mobile fully charged and in your pocket at all times. You never know when you would need it. He was only a few steps away from his phone yet took him some serious effort to get there.

The fall left him with 2 fractures in his left leg and complete bed rest for almost a month. And he isnt allowed to drive for atleast 3 months.

Regards,
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Old 17th September 2013, 00:00   #10
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Default Re: Night Photography & Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
Now, in developed and more safer countries, night photography is no big deal. in India, its a different case. It just doesn't feel safe.
Night photography is not inherently risky. For example, to get a picture of the night sky, you can stand on the terrace of your house, setup your tripod, point the camera at the sky, and watch beautiful photographs develop. Also, in most housing societies, there are people around at night so you are less likely to get mugged.

If you travel to an isolated place, you could be at risk whether or not it is day or night. The chain snatchers operate during the day and they could just as easily grab a camera or tripod instead of a chain; it is considered uncommon for chain snatchers to be around at night.

Perhaps the risk involved is with being in places that have no one around, so no witnesses for the crime. If you are at a place where people are around at 2am, you would still be safer than standing at an isolated fort at 2pm.
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Old 17th September 2013, 16:45   #11
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Default Re: Night Photography & Safety

The camera is the main attractant to thieves, be it night or day. A few tips from my own experience:

1. Use a smaller camera with good night shot capability. It should not be such that you have a 50 grand lens sticking out out of a DSLR to take that perfect shot.

2. Purchase 'Anonymous' carry bags for all your goods. If your black bag shouts NIKON or DELL with reflective insignia, you are most likely to be robbed, even if you have a packet of Uncle Chipps and Tropicana juice in them.

3. Scout the area in the day to find out the nearest police checkpost, nearest PCO and medical facilities. Spend some more time to decide the approximate vantage point to avoid looking like trespassers when you come back at night.

4. Tell at least a handful of people about your whereabouts and at least one of them should know the fastest route to your destination. It is best to take this person along when you're scouting.

5. Lastly, there are imaging tools available to process your image later. Try going to the spot and clicking pics while some people are around (at 7-8PM) rather than going all alone at 11pm.
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Old 17th September 2013, 17:56   #12
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Default Re: Night Photography & Safety

The best option is to group up with other folks who are interested and do it together. Forget thieves, in Mumbai cops are the biggest deterrent. The moment they see a tripod they are ready to fine you and tag you as a terrorist.
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