Night Photography - Alton Camera Club
Night Photography
Experiment, experiment, experiment.
Take lots of photos, make loads of mistakes, but learn from them and have fun.
Long exposures
Camera must be on tripod or on solid support.
Use RAW (or RAW + JPG), auto white balance.
Set a low ISO setting.
Use Manual or Bulb mode (depends on camera).
Set aperture to your taste – try f8 to start with.
Use a remote release, if you have one.
Set Bulb shutter setting (depends on camera) and a long shutter speed of “a few
seconds or minutes”. (Use a blank card in front of lens to stop unwanted light.)
Focus manually – use a torch to find the subject. Lens caps go in a zipped pocket.
Turn off lens/camera image stabilisation (Marked on your lens as IS, OS, VR, VC.)
If using remote release use Bulb shutter setting and press and hold the button for
the duration of the exposure.
Or if using self-timer then set a long exposure time and press the shutter before the
Experiment with exposure times, apertures and ISO settings.
Don't touch the camera or tripod when taking shots.
Mirror-up setting will reduce camera vibration.
Long-exposure noise reduction setting turned on may help if you don't have good
noise reduction software but it will waste shooting time.
Think about the background.
Torch painting
Long exposure settings. Open shutter. While pointing torch at camera, move torch
around subject; draw or write things. Close shutter. Review, adjust exposure, be
more creative.
LED toys, Laser pointers
Long exposure settings. Open shutter and be creative! Close shutter. Review, adjust
exposure and be more creative. Lasers must not be pointed at people or cameras.
Photography in pitch dark
Take exposures for about 30 seconds with lens at largest aperture (smallest f
number) and highest ISO setting you're comfortable with. Repeat, doubling the
exposure time (1 min, 2 min, 4 min) until you get an acceptable exposure. Eventually
you will be able to get an image because there is always stray light.
Light trails
Point camera at road – at a suitable distance away from traffic to avoid distracting
drivers. NO FLASH TO BE USED. Use long exposure settings. Manually focus in the
middle of the trail. Await first vehicle and then expose for a few seconds. Experiment
and recompose.
Strobe Flash
(For Canon 580/600 speedlite or Nikon SB-900/910)
Use long exposure settings and focus on subject. Low power flash so increase ISO.
Set strobe flash setting (multi-flash) to repeat many times a second. Open shutter.
Fire flash with action. (Golf swing, tennis swing, cricket swing, juggle, wave arms.)
Close shutter. Review, adjust exposure settings, flash position and strobe timing.
Flash painting
Long exposure settings. Flashgun on manual settings and not attached to camera.
Open shutter. Fire flash at subject – as many times as necessary. Close shutter.
Review, adjust exposure, adjust flash power, adjust flash zoom, and use different
flash directions. Try flash from behind the subject.
Mixture of Techniques
When shutter is open use flash, torches, toys and movement for something special.
The Moon
Long lens mounted on sturdy tripod. ISO 100, 1/250th, f8 or thereabouts. Focus
manually, use Live View if possible. Take your shot and then wish for a longer lens.
Stars and Galaxies
Wide lens mounted on sturdy tripod. Point at clear part of sky. High ISO: 1600+.
Large aperture (f2.8 or thereabouts), focussed manually at infinity, use Live View if
possible. Expose for around 15s – although much longer if you want trails. Review
and adjust exposure. Images will need cleaning up afterwards in Photoshop. For long
star trails take multiple 1 minute shots and blend together afterwards.
© Alton Camera Club 2013
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