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Places to take photos indoors

Discussion in 'Photographic Locations' started by Legojon, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    So I'm new to photography and have to admit, I don't like getting wet. When it's tipping it down outside, I don't feel like trapsing up muddy hillsides, etc. But I also have assignments to do for uni and want to keep practising. So I thought today, what places can I go to, not get wet and still get interesting photos? Not spefically in any part of the UK, just types of places. Eg museums. I'm about to research which allow photos and see if there are any interesting local ones.
  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    It can be very tricky taking photos in public indoor spaces. Most get upset and it is always wise to ask first or face some beefy person in your face asking what you are doing.
    Rainy streets and street scenes and people can be terrific to take photos. If you really can't stand getting wet, stand in a doorway or under cover. Crouch down to get a different view of the scene, or if you can, get up at a higher level and look down on things. There's no bad time to take photos - unless it's in full mid-day sunshine!! So get out there. A big roomy jacket is good so you can hide your camera underneath but ready to pull out and take a shot. Good luck!
    Legojon likes this.
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Most train stations are fine with you taking photographs, as long as you avoid tripods. The smaller stations are usually unmanned anyway, and the larger stations see plenty of people with cameras. Just be prepared to explain yourself calmly and quietly if someone approaches you. You could always, at a train station, announce yourself to someone who looks like they might be in charge.

    Most 'public' indoor spaces are problematic, i.e. shopping centres, because the security team will just want to stop you taking photographs even if there's no specific policy or restriction.

    But I concur with @Catriona as well, some of the best shots I've gotten are in the street when it's raining, and there's usually a place to stand under cover in city centres where you can photograph from. It does depend, somewhat, on the assignments you've got to complete.

    You can shoot some great stuff from the comfort of your own home.
    Legojon likes this.
  4. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    You don't say what kind of camera you have, but if it allows you to adjust its aperture and shutter speed settings then you have the tool you need to experiment and learn.

    Try some old churches or cathedrals. As long as there is no service in progress and you don't use a tripod or flash there is unlikely to be a problem. These restrictions will force you to be imaginative about supporting the camera as you may need 1/4 - 1/2 second exposure if you want to avoid pushing the ISO setting too high. The example below was taken 10 years ago with a DSLR, using 1/3 second, manual exposure and focus, with the camera laying on the floor and the 10 second self-timed allowing me to get out of shot.

    Also, if you venture outside perhaps a friend could hold an umbrella over you if the rain gets heavy.
    If he or she has a camera too, you can offer the same service.

    Attached Files:

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  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    A minor point. There is no problem taking photos in public indoor spaces, it is just that many places that appear public are in fact private land with permitted access and restrictions on photography, mainly to prevent commercial use of the results. Where restrictions exist it should not be hard to get access as a student for dissertation purposes given a letter from college. Otherwise, as suggested "shelter". Many museums/galleries allow non-flash photography. The national trust relaxed their "rules" on non-flash photogrsphy a while back but getting a permit, even for commercial use, isn't that onerous and I'm sure they must have academic purpose connections.
    Legojon likes this.
  6. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I have taken many photos in Churches, Nation Trust houses etc. and I always as permission first, broadly the responses have been as follows:

    1. Almost all say no to flash and tripods
    2. Small churches (a lot of those in York) are usually glad for the attention. I always give a donation on the way out.
    3. Big churches and cathedrals - they may be charging an entrance fee or if not a photo licence. For example at Ripon entrance is free but they ask £3 for the license. At York Minster they charge entrance that includes the license, however I am lucky enough to have a York Card which gets me in free. Again I always give a donation. My avatar was taken first thing in the morning when I slipped in quickly taking advantage of the card.
    4. NT houses and similar, again I ask but the answer is usually "Fine but no flash or tripods"
    5 Switzerland : Absolutely no photos.
    6. Germany (or at least Aachen "Dom") free entrance but a license that costs only 1 Euro.
    7. Museums in Greece contain some of the most beautiful things I know and they charge an entrance but again no flash. etc.There is one museum I know in Crete that restricts photos on "not yet described" exhibits. Of course you also have to factor in the air fare!

    Hope that helps

    P.S York Railway museum is free but they do ask for donations
    Legojon likes this.
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Related to this is the type of camera you're using. A large noisy dSLR will raise hackles much more quickly than a tiny compact. Never use flash without permission. It's not only rude but it will get you kicked out and probably spoil things for other photographers. Above all remember that very few buildings are public spaces. They are generally private spaces where the public is permitted. It is therefor up to the owners and managers what's allowed and what isn't.

    P.S. being sneaky gives you more chance of getting an interesting shot or two.

    Canon Eos 5D_two 8GB 12 IMG_0238.JPG

    Canon Eos 5D_two 8GB 12 IMG_0249.JPG

    Fujifilm SL300 8GB 05 DSCF3539.JPG
    Legojon likes this.
  8. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just remembered, a group of photographers I know wrote to Reading station asking for permission and got the answer "Fine but do not wear hi vis jackets as these could be confused with staff"
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  9. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. It's given me a lot to think about. I'll make sure that before I take any indoors photos, I check with the land owners first that it's permitted as I don't really feel like explaining it to security after the event. That said, I've just messaged the Natural History Museum as I can't find their policy on their website. From other sites, I believe it's no tripod / no flash and personal use only. I'll be taking my Nikon D3500 with 35mm F1.8 lens as the kit lenses are useless indoors. Hopefully I'll be able to get some usable photos, but the best part of assignments is that making mistakes is ok so long as I explain my difficulties, what I did wrong and what I'd do given the chance to redo.

    Oooo, I didn't think of churches / cathedrals. Funny, as I do visit quite a few of them. TBH, I've never seen anyone with a camera though.
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  10. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Re. 'kit lenses are useless indoors'. Is this because they often have small maximum apertures, which require shutter speeds too long for hand held shots? If so, see the image below, taken at 1 second exposure. The camera body was pressed against a stone lip at the bottom of a column and fired using the self timer. Obviously I could not look through the viewfinder, but the angle of view appeared to be about 45 degrees off vertical and I was using the wide end of a Sigma 10-20 lens. If you want to do shots inside buildings a 35 mm on and APS-C body may not be wide enough. If you can live with its limited maximum aperture, a 'good condition' old model Sigma 10-20 can be found for under £200 in a Nikon mount. It is also great for landscape work, but I've found that the large area of sky the wide angle captures requires the use of a ND graduated filter.

    Attached Files:

    Catriona likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Of course you can always let your imagination and the camera go wild. Sometimes the accidental result is the best ever. What shots do YOU want to take? Have fun. Try them all out and see what happens.
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  12. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Here's some examples to get you going!
    This was taken inside a bus with steamy windows.
    a[ from inside the bus.jpg

    This was one taken resting the camera on a table and the waitress walked past.
    ap cafe arts centre.jpg

    This one was looking through a window down onto the wet scene.
    ap looking out of the window.jpg
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  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I don't think I've met a digital camera with a standard zoom that won't work well indoors. Here's a shot out of an Olympus E-20P by available light in a rather dim room (nearly Christmas time). It isn't perfect but then being a crop of a shot at 1/20th of a second handheld what would you expect?

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  14. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I have found some nice images on standard zooms indoors. For example here is one taken wide open at f3.5 using a cheap zoom and a PEN taken at a recital to demonstrate some old (recreated) musical instruments

    Tabor 800.JPG
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  15. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The perfect response - experimenting when using a digital camera costs nothing apart from your time and patience. Some of us had to learn using film, which in my case was Kodachrome 64 when I was earning £10 a week in school holidays and one roll of 36 exposure film cost about £2 including processing. So I had to work for 8 hours to buy 36 frames for experimenting...

    Never spend money on new hardware unless it allows you to do something that is impossible with what you already have: hence my suggestion of a nice used Sigma 10-20 because it will do things that an 18-55 kit lens cannot, and this might be relevant for shots inside a building like a cathedral.
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  16. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    P7300552 1024.JPG Just thought I would post another example of indoor photography on standard lenses. This one is a Pieta in Ripon Cathedral taken at f4.5 and 1/13 sec not as beautiful as Michelangelo's version I am afraid but I can't see anything wrong with the lens,
  17. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    Yeah, I really like that! Maybe I've fallen for the marketing a bit. In my mind I was thinking wow, the 35mm lens does f1.8. And if I've understood correctly each stop down (from eg 5.6) doubles the light? But having had time to reflect. If I use an aperture of f1.8, my focused part of the overall picture would be tiny... so even with the f1.8 lens I'd still be shooting at f4-f8... achieving nothing over taking a f4-f5.6 zoom lens.
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If you stop a lens down by 1 stop, the F number increases, then that halves the area of aperture. The stop markings go by the diameter of the aperture - so a square root of 2 sequence. If you open a lens by one stop then the F number decreases and that doubles the area of aperture.

    The historic importance of fast lenses (e.g. F1.4) is, as you say, wide open they let in a lot of light and make the viewfinder image brighter. This makes focussing easier. The depth of field is also small which also makes focussing easier. So for use indoors, where light levels are less, or in dark conditions generally a fast lens increases the chances of success. Modern AF systems are quite good though and will focus in near darkness. Cameras also can emit, directly or through an attached flashgun, light to assist auto-focus in the dark. It is usually red light.

    Generally, fast lenses work best in terms of image quality if they are stopped down so for picture taking purposes maximum aperture is most useful for very limited depth of field shots. An 85 mm F1.4 used open and close for headshot portraiture will blur the length of an eyelash.

    All modern cameras that view through the lens keep the lens wide open for focussing and metering. They stop down to the taking aperture only after the shutter is released. Cameras usually have a button that will physically stop the lens to the taking aperture so that depth of field can be assessed but on a DSLR the image may be too dark to appreciate.

    If you compare a kit 18-55 zoom with a F1.4 prime costing several times more then you'd expect to see some difference in image quality if you were critical of comparative results. The main problem with kit lenses indoors, especially zooms slower than F4, is poor focus made worse by camera-shake due to the necessary over-long exposure time. As said in the other posts above, there is nothing intrinsically that makes them useless.
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  19. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just a digression, a lot also depends on the format of the camera you are using as the depth of field is much greater with the sensors found on small format cameras* than (say) with a full frame camera. Sometimes this is an advantage and sometimes a disadvantage, just for the record the Pieta above was taken on a micro four thirds camera.

    *A fact very easy to demonstrate experimentally but requiring a knowledge of calculus to prove mathematically
  20. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Not only that but if you're fiddling with a small camera and not holding it to your eye most people will ignore you which is very helpful if you're stalking Homo Sapiens. This was taken with a Nikon S10, a very useful camera for candid photography but no longer available...

    Nikon S10 5038.JPG

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