Tips On Night Photography

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Tips On Night Photography

One of the most challenging jobs to take on is capturing the night sky. Though I have done quite a bit of night photography, the best I have done until date is the Fourth of July fireworks display, I shot this year. Capturing the essence of the fireworks without sacrificing the backdrop was a challenge, but one, which I took on determinedly, and the photos were spectacular. The client who commissioned the job was very happy and gave me a few other assignments, which I have to admit, were not as exciting the fireworks job.

With the technology you get now, you’d think that night photography would be easier. But even with the latest in digital focus, it is difficult to capture the mood. While some nights you get overcast or grey skies, some are star lit and a few others have moving clouds. To capture the effect without spoiling the beauty of the nighttime lights, you need to have your shutter speeds longer.  Here are some night photography tips.

To get the moving stars in your shot with the same magical effect as in the sky, you need to have a good tripod and plenty of patience. The camera mode should be turned to bulb shooting and lens should be tuned to infinity. The cable release helps you to capture the moving stars easily. While the exposure for such shots extends from a few couple of minutes to many hours, you need to consider the battery life and timing composition.

Appropriate location

Rural countryside is the best spot for capturing the stars as the artificial lights in the city interfere with the natural night sky lighting. Even when I drive in my car, I find the countryside easier, as you don’t get those glaring headlights often. But to be on the safer side, I have my car fitted with a nice LED light bar I purchased at LED Lights Planet.

Best light

While capturing a long star trail, many beginners keep the shutter open for interminable amount of time. The impact of ambient light is ignored by them and the effect of residual light such as moonlight on the longer shutter speed. When you keep the shutter open for over 20 minutes about one hour after sunset, the camera will sense it, as a daytime shot and the shot will not turn out good. To get a better shot, you need to try this with on a new moon or well after moonset or before moonrise. This is because the starlight is clearer at such times.

Polar lights

For capturing Aurora borealis, you need to be extra attentive. Since the phenomenon is famous for its spectacular light changes where in the solar particles move at rapid speed, you will find it pretty hard to capture the right lighting.  To get a perfect aurora borealis shot, anchor the camera on your tripod and set it for longer exposure. Set the ISO at 100 to 400 and the shutter speed at 30 seconds. The inbuilt light meter is more useful for day setting, so don’t depend on it. A fast and wide-angle lens is best suited here.