Photography News Issue 50

Photography News | Issue 50 |

Technique 22

Make the long nights fly by Night Fever As darkness falls, exposures naturally lengthen, and there are plenty of photographic techniques subjects to make the most of as they do. This month find out how to get creative, improve your low-light efforts and have fun out in the dark…

Words by Kingsley Singleton Pictures by Kingsley Singleton and Will Cheung

Pack the right kit and be safe

Shoot cities in the dark

Many low-light techniques rely on using a tripod, so that’s the first thing that should be on your low-light list. Try attaching a LED light to the bottom of the centre column, so you can switch it on when walking or setting up. For astro shots, fast lenses are vital, so pack a wide-angle with a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8 if that’s what you’re planning. For other techniques like light trails or light painting, they’re not as important. A cable or remote release is handy, as it’ll minimise camera shake when you take a shot. It’s also essential when using B mode so you can lock open the shutter for long periods, say beyond 30secs, which you’ll need when light painting. Pack LED lights, torches or flashes if you’re planning on light painting, and remember spare batteries or coloured gels. Other things to add to your backpack include spare camera batteries, as long exposures and cold, night-time conditions will sap their energy. Take some warm clothing and keep the spare batteries in inside pockets close to your body. Make sure your phone is fully charged too, and always tell someone where you’re going and what time you’ll be back.

Above The lack of light is challenge but with the right kit and a little practice, shooting at night can give wonderful results. Bracket exposures to make sure you get a decent file to work with and turn off in-camera noise reduction (high ISO and long exposure) which slows down the shooting process.

Towns and cities go through an amazing change as day turns to night; scenes that seemed dull in the daylight hours can become wonderful as the lights are switched on. To capture them at their best, try shooting while there’s still a little natural light left in the sky; this will give a pleasing contrast to the artificial lights, and also mark

out the shapes of buildings or the landscape behind them. Look for reflections, and how points of light take on a starburst shape. Because of the darkness, the shutter speed will lengthen; it could be anything from a couple of seconds to 30secs or more, hence the need to keep it still. Set the camera’s drive mode to self timer, so you don’t jog it, then shoot.

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