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Covert Imagery – Night Photography

Last week we were teaching a specialist team the fundamentals for Close Target Reconnaissance (CTR) in order to deploy covert cameras. At the initial recce stage, the team had to obtain photographs during the night to assist planning the deployment.


With DSLR & mirrorless cameras, most of the settings described below can be set prior to deployment.


These images were taken in pitch black, clear sky with a crescent moon.



You will need a tripod or firm support and possibly a remote shutter release.


Camera Settings


1. Set camera on a mini tripod and use a remote release (or set the 2 second timer & remember to disable any emitting camera lights).

2. Camera to Manual Mode.

3. Set image compression to RAW rather than JPG.

4. Set the aperture to its widest (f2.8 or f4).

5. Set the ISO to 6400 (for now).

6. Set Exposure to 30 seconds (30”), for now.

7. Set lens to manual focus, zoom in and manually focus on a spot of light / window reflection (if there is one) and then zoom back out wide.

8. Turn the back screen display to ‘OFF’ otherwise it will illuminate your face.

9. Take the picture…

10. After the shutter closes, It may take 30 seconds to process the data, so be patient.


Adjustments


If the image is too bright: Keep the shutter speed at 30 seconds but bring the ISO down to 3200. Or keep the ISO at 6400 and reduce the shutter speed to 20 seconds.


If the image is too dark: Push the ISO to 12800 rather than use a shutter speed of 40 seconds as this would mean using the ‘Bulb’ mode and it gets messy.


You can also watch the YouTube video to help you.


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