Great nighttime shots can be captured by using a few simple techniques. You no longer have to be disappointed by having difficulty making out the subject of the photo. No more evening shots that are blurry and dimly lit. Capture mesmerizing star trails and many other scenic details that are difficult to see with the naked eye. Mastering the nighttime shot is essentially mastering long exposure shots. Long exposure images have an amazing depth of color with water adding an attractive glow to the image.
Scouting your destination in advance
It’s possible that this tip could be the most important one of all. The key to getting beautiful nighttime shots is knowing the location you’re going to ahead of time and knowing it well. Arrive well before sunset so you have plenty of time to set up your equipment. Familiarizing yourself with the landscape lowers the risk of accidents to you and your gear. You’re able to browse for locations through a site like Flickr, that allow you to search locations by coordinates or general terms. Bring a digital compass along if you plan on getting shots of particular star trails. Plus, the compass will help you always know your position which is helpful when hiking or out in a spacious area.
Rules on flash
Be sure to take your camera out of auto mode so that the flash is disabled. Your camera may try to use the pop-up flash function if it remains in auto mode. Flash causes the foreground to be over-lit, while the background is in utter darkness. Simply choose a different camera mode to avoid this issue.
Using the self-timer
The camera shakes when the shutter button is pressed. To avoid the shake, use the self-timer function as well as the mirror lock up feature. This will help ensure that the photos you take are not blurry. You could also use a remote trigger or shutter release as another option. If you do choose to do this, get a trigger or release that matches up with the model of your camera.
Bring a tripod
You need the tripod in order to achieve long exposures. If your tripod is easily blown over or lightweight, try weighing it down with a heavy bag in the middle of the tripod. Believe it or not, the wind can ruin your long exposure shot. Cut down the risk that the tripod stand will move at all by weighing it down. You can choose from a selection of tripods on http://bestcameraaccessories.com.
Stick to manual focus
It can be difficult for a camera to achieve autofocus in a low light setting. Find the object that you will be focusing on in the dark and determine how far away the object is in meters or feet. Then adjust the distance scale on your lens accordingly. If the subject of your focus is very far away, you may want to set the lens to infinity and allow everything to go into focus.
Try high ISO testing to determine exposures
Every increase of the ISO dial cuts your exposure time in half. Finding the best exposure can sometimes become a game of trial and error. It can be disappointing to wait 15 minutes for a shot only to find out that the shot was not level or out of focus. High ISO testing is not really needed when the final exposure will be less than two minutes. Before you begin, make sure there are no distractions in the frame. Confirm the camera alignment, composition, and focus are all correct, this will help eliminate frustration during your photo session. During the ISO test, the number of seconds during the test exposure equals the number of minutes at the native ISO. If your camera has Live View, definitely use it to help you lock down to focus on the subject of the picture. Work with your focus ring until you get the ideal focus.
Many people believe that it’s impossible to take a great photo at night simply because they haven’t done so. It can be a bit tricky, but by applying diligence, you’ll find the exposure that works for your shot. Some photographers find that good exposure lies three to five stops above what the camera’s light meter thinks it should be. If it is very dark outside, you may want to try setting your camera’s ISO to 6400 or higher.
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