Taking pictures: flash or no flash?

Sunday, July 1, 2001 11:06 PM
I love to take pictures of coasters and rides at night, because they have such a different look to them then (well duh), but I was wondering when to use the flash and when not to?

Take for instance, lets say, this picture: http://www.guidetothepoint.com/thepoint/gallery/cp98raptorloopnight.jpg - Would (did) you use the flash or not?

One more, this one (I'm mystified by this one in so many ways, but let's stick to flash and no flash): http://www.guidetothepoint.com/thepoint/gallery/cp98monster.jpg

Any help would be appreciated, I just want to take good night pics when I go to CP/SFWOA next week.

I'm going to be at CP July 10th & 11th. I'll be at SFWOA the 12th of July. See you there! *** This post was edited by Glitch01 on 7/2/2001. ***
Sunday, July 1, 2001 11:21 PM
For pictures to end up like both of those, I'd be tempted to tell you not to use a flash. Both of them look as if they were done with a long exposure. From experience, my best night shots come out when I do this, as colors and light schemes are close to what they actually look like and everything has alot more life to it. A flash at night does very little, except when working with very close subjects. Hope this helped some.
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Monday, July 2, 2001 5:12 AM
I agree with dmb-crush. If you have a camera that you can set your exposure time and a tripod, that is the way to go for night shots (not using flash). The second shot probably was done with a 1 second (maybe 2) second exposure, IMHO.

But if you only have a point-and-shoot, get as close as you can, use flash, and pray. Chances are, they won't turn out as good as your examples.

"It's Deja Vu all over again." - Yogi Berra
Monday, July 2, 2001 7:45 AM
It all depends on what kind of camera you have, film, exposure, blah blah blah. The world of photography is huge, there is WAY too much to cover in a simple forum like this.

I have noticed that digital cameras are much more sensitave to low light than a regular "piont and shoot" 35mm or Advantix camera. I have some killer shots of coasters at dusk, but without any natural light, results can be less than impressive.

"X" marks the spot in 2001!
Monday, July 2, 2001 4:16 PM
Except for in the station shots, unless you have a very powerful flash, you will probably not get any effect from it at night. You are usually 50 or more from you subject when taking coaster photos. At that distance most flashes don't do much.

Both of the photo links you use were made using the park lights. The first uses the parks lights shining up at Raptor. The second is a time exposure of the whirling lights attached to a flat ride.
Monday, July 2, 2001 4:49 PM
Time exposure...what's that? Sorry if it's a stupid question...

I'm going to be at CP July 10th & 11th. I'll be at SFWOA the 12th of July. See you there!
Monday, July 2, 2001 6:55 PM
Both photos were time exposure on a tripod. In other words, you set the camera to expose the film for a long period of time. You need an SLR for this sort of thing; a point-and-shoot won't do.

I have a good way of shooting stuff like this. I have a small (6") tripod that I use generally placing the camera on a garbage can, since they're plentiful at Cedar Point. I set the camera to do a five second exposure, generally, and use the wireless remote (I have a Canon Elan IIe) to trigger the shutter. The reason I use the remote is that any slight shake caused by pressing the button will blur the photo, and that's bad.

The Raptor photo has the freakish glow because of reflection on my cheap lens filter from the lights under the ride. The monster photo is just a simple two or three second exposure. Basically, only bright things or stationary things create an impression on the film, so you're seeing the position of the lights from the entire duration of the exposure.

Getting back to the flash, it's usually pointless to use a flash for anything that's more than a few feet away. The flash can't light a big ride. The flash is useful in bright sunlight, however. Many of the Millennium Force construction photos use the flash in the middle of the day, and it brings out the color and fills the shadows.

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Monday, July 2, 2001 8:58 PM
I have a Kodak DC4800 Digital cam, and have taken some AWESOME night pics at CP and SFWoA. Look for them at the Cuyahoga County fair this year, if you are a Northern Ohioian. I will post them soon. The DC4800 works well as a point and shoot, or gives you all the control (f settings, exposure settings etc...) as an SLR. I also have a Canon Rebel that does a great job as well. No flash at night though. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2001 11:25 AM
Thanks for all your help! I'm not quite as high-tech as some of this sounds, but I'll try my best to take some great pictures.

I tested this at Indiana Beach, and as a result I got this amazing looking photo (no flash): http://indianabeach.8k.com/images/md12.jpg

The colors of the ride and the botom bright lights really make it look cool.

Thanks again for your help!

I'm going to be at CP July 10th & 11th. I'll be at SFWOA the 12th of July. See you there!
Tuesday, July 3, 2001 12:32 PM
Well, let's not totally dismiss the use of a flash. If, for instance, you wanted to include the railing of the Monster in the foreground, you could open the shutter for 3 seconds, using the flash at either the beginning or the end of the exposure to "fill in" the foreground. This is tough to do with most inexpensive cameras, though.

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