Thursday, December 11, 2008

1 week and 1 day - the Coutdown begins AND A RAK!

I have ONE week and ONE day left of work before I am on vacation for the rest of the year! I cannot believe Christmas is almost here and with it the end of the year. Where has the time gone? 2 whole (although busy) weeks to spend with my family at home. Enjoying the season, baking cookies, getting the house ready for the holidays. I can't wait. I can't wait to pull out my scrapping supplies and get every memory down on paper for my gorgeous son who is growing so quickly. It makes me sad. 16 months old, almost 29 lbs (yes you read that right). Talking, walking, running, just constantly on the go.

This was him last year at this time:

And since we haven't gotten many pictures by the tree because he has been so sick and crabby here is the best I can do so far this year.

I can't believe how much he has grown in a year and everything he has learned.

Okay so this weekend I will be taking pictures in front of our christmas tree with my son and step daughter for our christmas cards. All the pictures I took last weekend with my flash off to get a good picture of the tree in it's full nighttime glory came out with different colored squiggly lines all over. ETA: I should add that I have an SLR (nikon D40).

So please leave me a comment with some advice. What is the best way to take a nice christmas tree photo in the evening so that my christmas cards will be pretty. No squiggly lines!!! Here is what I am talking about.

See that's just bad!

In exchange for your advice I will pick a winner on Sunday morning from my comments by and send them a cute little rak. The rak will include a little UNITY love!
Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!


Melanie Stanczyk said...

Hey girl,

With all that vacation time off--I sure hope you make time to scrap a little.

Ok-I suck at photo taking that is why I making my kids stand outside in the snow while I take the pictures. (Can't go wrong with natural light)

Kerry said...

If you have a digital camera there is probably a setting titled 'available light' We find that works well for night time pictures and gives a nice quality to the Christmas lights. Hope that helps!

Rebecca Kvenvolden said...

well, i'm not very good at getting nighttime pictures.. so not much for advice, i've always assumed its becuase i have a cheap camera :-) but here's what i'd do...

Set up a tripod. turn off flash, and click away... hopefully that will help. The tripod is key

Michelle (mla1111) said...

Someone else had this ? on another blog & they were told to try the following:
Try turning your ISO as high as it can go, then your aperture as low as the number can go. Hold the camera as still as you can and make sure your subjects hold still as well. Hhope that helps!

I ave a setting for fireworks, or nighttime, etc on my camera...maybe you have a smiliar auto setting on your camera.

Kristen said...

I always turn my camera flash off. You have to be extremely still taking the pics. I learned all this at Disney this spring, trying to take pics at night. Needless to say... they didn't come out very well for a while.

Your little guy is such a cutie!!!! Hope you enjoy your vacation!

Angela W said...

I really have no advice but will be checking back to see what others say. I tried taking a pretty picture of out tree the other night. It wasn't bad, but I know it could've been better! I adjusted the ISO or something like that! I will be off the last part of the most too!!

lingannon said...

I have tried this too. I tried all of the fancy night and light settings. In the end, I just put the camera on auto and that gave me the best picture. Not sure what type of camera you have, but I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

definitely lower the aperature (I like 2.4), and try a higher ISO (you may want to go to the highest setting 800 or above). Of if you camera has some "night" settings that will help. Another trick/tip for photographing your christmas tree - turn on all the lights in the room. Your tree will still be illluminated, but sometimes the color balance is a bit better.

Kristii said...

What a cutie!!! I am clueless where photography is concerned. I am of no help there, lol!
I am so excited you signed up at LRS!!! You will love it there!

HL0517 said...

Did you check that your ISO is all the way up to 1600?? Your photos may be grainer but hopefully not blurry if the kids move. O don't think you can change this on auto so you may have to move your dial to M. I don't know about the squilly lines - I have the D50 and I've never seen those. Is it a reflection from the lights?? Maybe try moving the camera a little closer

jan farnworth said...

more then likely you need to have something steady to put your photo on and some sort of timer thing set. i am not the best at pictures either tryed to get christmas parade photos what a nightmare good luck.

Tinker's Mom said...

Nicole, it appears that you have a smudge on the lense - possibly on the inside rather than the front. You should be able to remove the lens and carefully clean it with a dry, soft cloth (like old flannel).

Your readers have left some great tips about shooting in low light. If cleaning the lense doesn't fix the problem, it might be on the inside plate of the camera. A professional camera repair shop should be able to clean that for you, and check for any other problems. Hope this helps (adorable blog & child!).

Tessa said...

I don't have a SLR but here are my tips:

do you have a night or fireworks setting?

I am guessing that the aperature and fstop need to be played with as well but I am still working on those!

Also if you want child in focus move them closer to camera and have tree in background will give soft glow of lights on tree

Lisa F said...

Have a great vacation

A tripod will be your friend! Set it to no flash or night flash and take the pictures. If you have a remote to take the picture, that will help even more!!!!!! Then you don't accidentally jiggle the camera when you push the button.

scrappin', trippin' and lovin' it said...

Hi. Ok so the things you have to do (and some of the other people have said the same thing)):
1) Set your camera to the A priority setting (ie the A setting);
2) Set the white balance (WB) to the correct lighting (ie if you press the top button (with the arrow on it), so that your screen becomes black (and the let it go), then you press the button with the question mark on it, and while you keep this in, turn the wheel (the one next to the camera strap on the right of the camera) you set the WB. If you look on the LCD while you turn the wheel, you will see that the WB setting changes. There's a few, but if you are taking photos inside at night, I would think either on the 1st two after the automatic (A) will work. You gonna have to take some test photos to see which is the correct one.
3) Set your ISO (once again make sure the pic doesn't show on the screen (arrow button). The press the button with the checker board on it. While keeping it in, rotate the wheel. You will see the ISO changes. The highest on the D50 is 1600, but that's plenty. (maybe even take a few test shots and see if you like the grain).
4) Flash off (but you got that already if I read your post right).
5) Next get you camera on a tripod. If you don;t have one, you gonna have to set up the post so you can put your camera down, cause believe me you will not be able to take a clear pic by hand holding.. or let me correct myself, highly unlikely.
6) Set the people up (including a place for you) and turn of lights from other sources.
7) Set the timer (or if you have a remote trigger use that)
8) Half press the button till it "click" so say it found something to read from (note (as a general guide) that you should have the bold "block" when you look through the view finder reading the light from the faces. This is hopefully make sure that you can at least see their faces. )
9) Run for your spot.
10) Wait for the camera to go off.

Repeat. 10 times or more. Play with the WB and ISO before hand as this will make a big diff to the look you will get. (and yes, you should ask them to sit still what the car

Sorry if this is more info than what you wanted.
Or let me know if you want to know more....MMM

scrappin', trippin' and lovin' it said...

Now that I see that post.. HELL!! I didn't mean to do the longest post EVER!!

Also, sorry for the spelling problems.. What can I say, i'll have to get my school fees back...