Beginner What are these imperfections?

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#1
Hi all. Took some night shots of Lichfield cathedral recently (fantastic building if you've never been) and on several images which I rejected the same imperfections showed up - Crosses of light. In this example posted they are to the top left/right of the spires. Is it to do with camera shake? (It was windy as you can see) so the camera wasn't as stable as it could/should have been) Or something else to do with the lens? Equipment was D500, Tokina 11-16 f2.8 25s.

Thanks for any help
DSC_1316_00002.jpg
 
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#3
If I do it's not something I've done knowingly. I've not seen them on any other shots with the same combination of camera and lens, just these few of the cathedral so if any effect was enabled I would guess I'd see it on other images?
 
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#4
The D500 does not have effects filters so you can rule that out. It is more likely some form of camera movement allied with some form of reflection. I'd guess you may have a filter on the front of the lens perhaps? (UV/daylight/protective... )
 
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#5
No filter on the front of the lens, just the standard lens hood. I did think it was something to do with camera movement but it just seemed a bit unusual and unlike camera movement which I've seen/experienced before (I always thought of it as the wobbly effect which is also clearly noticable about a third of the way up the building.)
 
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#6
The D500 does not have effects filters so you can rule that out. It is more likely some form of camera movement allied with some form of reflection. I'd guess you may have a filter on the front of the lens perhaps? (UV/daylight/protective... )
@traindriver can you state the lens and what if any filter (UV protection or otherwise) you have fitted to the lens.

AFAIK such star shapes are seen due to internal reflections due to either the presence of a filter or possibly the internal parts of the lens itself.

Edit ~ ooops! Typing as you posted.......what is the lens???
 
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#13
Thanks for all the responses. Just to clarify no filter and the image was taken at f2.8 on a 2.8 lens at 13mm. Perhaps I should have gone down to f4? Although it was only once home that I noticed these crosses. Next time I'm at the cathedral I'll see if that makes much of a difference (in theory, should it?)

In response to Box Brownie, I had heard that this lens can throw up lens flare although having seen lens flare on some of my other images these seemed a little different.

Thanks again
 
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#14
I've had a similar effect using Olympus equipment without any filter being present. I suspect it is caused by the fact that there are a number of strong light sources at the bottom of the frame, which have resulted in internal lens reflections which then found their way back onto the sensor. If you look closely you can see a correlation between the number of strong lights at the bottom of the frame and the number of crosses at the top of the frame.
 
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#15
I've had a similar effect using Olympus equipment without any filter being present. I suspect it is caused by the fact that there are a number of strong light sources at the bottom of the frame, which have resulted in internal lens reflections which then found their way back onto the sensor. If you look closely you can see a correlation between the number of strong lights at the bottom of the frame and the number of crosses at the top of the frame.
Yes, it's a reflection of the (relatively) extremely bright lights at the bottom of the frame, set against a dark background so they show up more clearly. The light bounces off the shiny surface of the sensor, and is then reflected back off one (or more) of the lens elements. Filters are very prone to causing this as they have a nice flat surface that acts like a mirror. Another tell-tale sign is they show along the diagonal.

You can't see this effect through an optical viewfinder, though it's visible in live view.
 
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#16
I've had a similar effect using Olympus equipment without any filter being present. I suspect it is caused by the fact that there are a number of strong light sources at the bottom of the frame, which have resulted in internal lens reflections which then found their way back onto the sensor. If you look closely you can see a correlation between the number of strong lights at the bottom of the frame and the number of crosses at the top of the frame.
Yes, it's a reflection of the (relatively) extremely bright lights at the bottom of the frame, set against a dark background so they show up more clearly. The light bounces off the shiny surface of the sensor, and is then reflected back off one (or more) of the lens elements. Filters are very prone to causing this as they have a nice flat surface that acts like a mirror. Another tell-tale sign is they show along the diagonal.

You can't see this effect through an optical viewfinder, though it's visible in live view.
Thanks for the replies. I hadn't noticed before but it seems you're right about the correlation, so I guess reflection is the most likely cause. When I go back I'll try a different lens and see what happens, the lighting is normally the same in that area when they have an event on in the evening so I should be able to recreate the image fairly accurately.
 
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#18
There is also a double arc on the rhs of similar brightness which I guess is also lens created.
The double arc I was aware of as it showed up pretty clearly in live view, so in subsequent shots I was able to prevent it by placing my hand in such a way as it prevented the light from getting in (without my hand being in shot.) But the crosses were more difficult for me to understand. Perhaps had I been aware of them they could have also been prevented, which is why I was asking really although there comes a point where you don't have enough hands to shield the camera!
 

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#19
You wouldn't really be able to shade the lights at the bottom of the shot anyway.

As Richard (Hoppy) says, it's in(f)ternal reflections.
 
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#21
Yep, would suggest they're lens flares. The Tokina is renowned for them unfortunately. I get it all the time with mine and can be really frustrating.
 
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#24
The double arc I was aware of as it showed up pretty clearly in live view, so in subsequent shots I was able to prevent it by placing my hand in such a way as it prevented the light from getting in (without my hand being in shot.) But the crosses were more difficult for me to understand. Perhaps had I been aware of them they could have also been prevented, which is why I was asking really although there comes a point where you don't have enough hands to shield the camera!
It's a great shot and worth getting right (y)

Now you know what you're looking for, you should be able to see the reflections in live view and they'll move around as you move the camera, and they can move a lot with a wide-angle. There may be a better position, also try zooming back to give a bit more area around the cathedral and from slightly different angle you might be able to position the reflections out of the way, then crop for final framing. Or HDR technique?

Have you ever done any darkroom work, with a bit of dodging and burning? You could try that with a 25sec exposure time - just shade the bottom of the frame for half the exposure time with a bit of black card (your hand might be okay). Or use a graduated filter over the bottom - might be the easiest option, but wouldn't get rid of the reflections completely and may create even more.
 

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#25
Does it spoil the image? Some would say the halo and the crosses add an ethereal aspect to the shot of a church. Some might even try to add such effects.

:plus1:

IMO the other flare on either side of the big window detracts from the image but the crosses add a fair bit of atmosphere and humour to it!
 
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#26
Does it spoil the image? Some would say the halo and the crosses add an ethereal aspect to the shot of a church. Some might even try to add such effects.
I hadn't really looked at it like that, thanks for the new point of view! To be fair I do quite like the image but once I noticed the crosses and couldn't understand them I wanted to find out how to avoid such things in future.

It's a great shot and worth getting right (y)

Now you know what you're looking for, you should be able to see the reflections in live view and they'll move around as you move the camera, and they can move a lot with a wide-angle. There may be a better position, also try zooming back to give a bit more area around the cathedral and from slightly different angle you might be able to position the reflections out of the way, then crop for final framing. Or HDR technique?

Have you ever done any darkroom work, with a bit of dodging and burning? You could try that with a 25sec exposure time - just shade the bottom of the frame for half the exposure time with a bit of black card (your hand might be okay). Or use a graduated filter over the bottom - might be the easiest option, but wouldn't get rid of the reflections completely and may create even more.
Cheers, I would like to get it right as it's such a beautiful building and the gothic style lends perfectly to night photography in my view.

That's some good advice in your post, I've never done any darkroom work and it's not really on the agenda as yet so will stick to moving the camera around and maybe exploring the graduated filter idea a bit more.
 

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#27
Just a thought... Do the street lights get switched off at a certain time? Might be worth asking the cathedral's neighbours if (and if so, when).
 
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#28
That's a good idea but unfortunately the lights inside the cathedral go off as well, they only seem to be on when there's an event on. They tend to finish earlier than any streetlight switch off time so I wouldn't get any light coming from the stained glass or main entrance unfortunately.
 
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#30
It's a great shot and worth getting right (y)

Now you know what you're looking for, you should be able to see the reflections in live view and they'll move around as you move the camera, and they can move a lot with a wide-angle. There may be a better position, also try zooming back to give a bit more area around the cathedral and from slightly different angle you might be able to position the reflections out of the way, then crop for final framing. Or HDR technique?

Have you ever done any darkroom work, with a bit of dodging and burning? You could try that with a 25sec exposure time - just shade the bottom of the frame for half the exposure time with a bit of black card (your hand might be okay). Or use a graduated filter over the bottom - might be the easiest option, but wouldn't get rid of the reflections completely and may create even more.
Even easier, if you are a Photoshop user: use a tripod and take two images, one as above, the other with your hand blocking the lower quarter of the frame so that the bright lights don't enter the lens. Use manual settings so that they both have the same exposure. Manual focus would be a good idea too, if you don't have back button focus set up.

Back home, process them in Lightroom or wherever, copy and pasting develop settings so that they are identical. Then import into Photoshop as layers, first shot on top, and mask out the unwanted elements.

If you're a beginner, all this talk of layer masks and stuff may seem a bit incomprehensible, but if you look up some basic tutorials online, it's really very easy and quick once you know what you're doing, and should solve this issue completely.
 
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#31
Even easier, if you are a Photoshop user: use a tripod and take two images, one as above, the other with your hand blocking the lower quarter of the frame so that the bright lights don't enter the lens. Use manual settings so that they both have the same exposure. Manual focus would be a good idea too, if you don't have back button focus set up.

Back home, process them in Lightroom or wherever, copy and pasting develop settings so that they are identical. Then import into Photoshop as layers, first shot on top, and mask out the unwanted elements.

If you're a beginner, all this talk of layer masks and stuff may seem a bit incomprehensible, but if you look up some basic tutorials online, it's really very easy and quick once you know what you're doing, and should solve this issue completely.
Hi Dave thanks for the post. I've heard of using layers in PS before but it's not something I've done yet. I'm still using the Nikon software for now, once I'm happy with that, have a better understanding of processing and have reached it's limitations I'll decide to move on to LR or PS.

Incedentally, I've often heard of people processing images in LR then importing into PS for layering processes, is there a reason the image processing isn't done in PS as well? Only really asking as both pieces of software are expensive and it seems slightly excessive purchasing both (or so the wife will say!) Or have I got the wrong end of the stick, is one part of the other?
 
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#33
Incedentally, I've often heard of people processing images in LR then importing into PS for layering processes, is there a reason the image processing isn't done in PS as well? Only really asking as both pieces of software are expensive and it seems slightly excessive purchasing both (or so the wife will say!) Or have I got the wrong end of the stick, is one part of the other?
They are two sides of the same coin in some ways, i.e. they work together but are separate applications. If you get the subscription version, you will get both anyway (about £10 per month ish). LR is predominantly a raw converter and cataloguing application (Digital Asset Management or DAM), it is capable of being a one stop solution but does not support layers nor editing at a pixel level. It is totally non destructive. PS is also capable of raw conversion, using ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) - btw LR uses the same conversion process - but it does not have any DAM, it does support layers, is capable of editing at the pixel level and unless you are careful can be destructive in its editing (it can also be non destructive too). It is extraordinarily powerful. They work together very well imo/e.
 
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#34
Can you tell us how the shot was taken ie settings tripod mirror up remote release
D500, 25s f2.8, Tokina 11-16 m, think it was at about 14mm. Tripod but didn't have remote release which is where I think some of the movement came from (plus as I mentioned previously it was a windy night.)
They are two sides of the same coin in some ways, i.e. they work together but are separate applications. If you get the subscription version, you will get both anyway (about £10 per month ish). LR is predominantly a raw converter and cataloguing application (Digital Asset Management or DAM), it is capable of being a one stop solution but does not support layers nor editing at a pixel level. It is totally non destructive. PS is also capable of raw conversion, using ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) - btw LR uses the same conversion process - but it does not have any DAM, it does support layers, is capable of editing at the pixel level and unless you are careful can be destructive in its editing (it can also be non destructive too). It is extraordinarily powerful. They work together very well imo/e.
Thanks for the detailed answer, I had been weighing up the subscription vs LR6 purchase option but I didn't realise wih subscription you got PS as well. That might push me towards subscription as I think layering ability will be useful in future.
 
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#35
The beauty of layering is that you can work on copies of the original image without affecting the original. By using separate layers for dodging and burning, sharpening etc., it is easy to go back into the image edit and change things without touching the original image, which sits on its own layer.
Layers also give you the ability to apply selective processes - e.g. if you set a sharpening layer (high pass filter) with a mask you can choose which specific areas of an image require to sharpen.
The only downside is that the work files can get very large.
 
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#36
The main points have been pretty well covered. I think it's possible to do without Lightroom. Some people don't like its approach to DAM, and prefer to organise themselves just using folders and Adobe Bridge, even professionals dealing with quite large volumes. And alternative DAM apps are available, as they say on TV :) All of LR's processing abilities (the Develop module) are essentially duplicated in Adobe Camera Raw, albeit in a slightly different interface that you may or may not prefer. So you can do without LR

Whereas there's simply no substitute for some of what Photoshop can do - it's truly the Swiss Army knife of image processing. The good news is that you don't have to learn it all at once - just the bits you need. Many people go their whole lives only using about 20% of it and never feel cheated.

Having said all that, the subscription model definitely pushes you towards getting both, particularly if you look out around Black Friday, when there's often a deal going. I prefer the LR interface over Camera Raw, and I like its DAM abilities. So I use both.
 
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