Photographing at Night
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Photographing at NightSeeing Different
Temples/ Lit Buildings
Bulb ExposuresBy Stacy Robbins
Your camera will see things differently at night than your eyesMoving car lights will turn out as streaksStreet lamps can look like star burstsDifferent types of lights will look different colors - florescent lights will make things look green while incandescent lights (regular house lights) will make things look more yellow. This barn looked all one color to my eye because it automatically adjusted for the different types of light. The camera doesnt do that.
When I took this photo my eyes could see the light from the street lamp coming through the branches of the tree - but I couldnt see any of the colors the camera captured in the light.
The orange colored light in the background is from street lamps down a different street.
The only photo shop done to this image was to take the tops of two cars out of the image.
Use Manual settings - Shutter speed (about 1-2 seconds) - Aperture (As low as it can go 5.8 or so)- Focus (set to the infinity setting - looks like a sideways 8)- Zoom out (Its hard to plan exactly where the fireworks will happen so get more area than you think you really need - you can crop later)
2. Use a tripod (or something else to hold your camera steady - could be a table or chair)
3. Use the self timer or a remote so you dont bump the camera each time you press the shutter button.
4. Take a LOT of photos and dont wait until you see a good firework to take a photo - by the time you have seen the firework start it will be too late for your camera to capture it. I take hundreds of photos during a firework show. With digital you can always delete the ones you dont want later.
Temples / Lit Buildings
Shoot before all the light is goneStart setting up your camera (probably on a tripod) before the sun starts setting. Find the angle you want and start getting exposures as the sun sets. Keep taking exposures until the sunlight is completely gone. (You can also use this principle in reverse for morning shots.)Shooting after it is completely dark will result in your photograph looking like you took photo of the temple and cut it out and put it on black paper - while this will show the lights of the temple it doesnt usually look very nice or professional.
Watch for fog- The bottom two shots on this page were taken after 10pm. The reason these work is because of the fog around the temple - which catches the light off of the temple giving the sky more light & texture
Point and Shoot ShotsBoth of these shots were taken with a point and shoot camera.
Turn off the flash (I used Program settings)
With the flash off the camera should take a 1-2 second exposure. 3.I hand held these and just moved the camera during the short exposure - this made the lights on the freeway look pretty exciting
I used the Program settings for this image. That way I could manually turn off the flash. When I turned off the flash my camera metered for a 1 second exposure which was perfect in this scene.
As I didnt have a tripod I set the camera down on a rock and used the self timer so I wouldnt bump the camera by pushing the shutter button.
It wasnt completely dark when I took this image. The sun was behind the mountains but the light wasnt completely gone yet. This time between when the sun goes down and the light is gone is known as Sweet Light.
Bulb ExposuresExposures that are longer than any exposures already programmed into your camera These two photos were taken within about 5 minutes of each other about 11pm one November night. The one of the left is a 2 minute exposure - the one on the right is a 30 second exposure. Notice the green light in the one on the left - thats the clue to this being taken at night - because the light isnt just a bright dot but more of a star shape.
10 minute exposureThings you need:Tripod (its really difficult to do this with even just a steady surface)Shutter release/remote or some thick heavy rubber bands and perhaps a flat object such as a coin.Full or nearly full battery power - long exposures sap your battery power like nothing else will. If you have a way to plug in your camera that would be a good idea for long exposures.The BULB setting on your camera makes it so that once the shutter button is pushed down the camera takes an exposure until the pressure is released from the button making it possible to do longer exposures.
The trick is to keep enough pressure on the button of your camera to keep it down for several minutes. You can buy a basic remote for most DSLR cameras at any camera store for about $20.
The remote allows you to set off the exposure without bumping the camera and on the bulb setting your camera will not stop exposing until you push the button on the remote again.
12 minute exposureManual Settings - focus, aperture, BULB setting (this comes after your longest shutter speed - if your longest programmed shutter speed is 30 sec. just keep turning past that and your camera should say BULB.)
If you have a remote youre set to go
If not - position yourself directly in front of your camera or have someone else stand there or hold something in front of your lens. The important thing is to block your camera from taking a photo of the scene just yet - this is why you MUST use manual focus!
Get the rubber bands on tight - the shutter button should be pushed down by now. Use the coin for extra weight to hold the button down so it doesnt just take a short exposure.
When you are ready to stop the exposure - either stand in front of the camera or have someone/something block the lens again so that your camera wont be exposing while you are moving it.
How to use the bulb settingFireworksTemple/Buildings w/ lights