This Week’s Contest: Night Photography

Introducing the fourth in our series of photography challenges is renowned travel photographer and owner of The Polar Route blog, Ed Graham.

05 Aug 2013


Taking Pictures in the Dark

Bike in the night

Your camera craves light and will do anything it can to get more of it. Most cameras adjust automatically by increasing the ISO as the light fades, but high ISOs mean poor image quality. You'll need to manually set your camera to a low ISO in order to capture sharp and detailed night-time images.

Low ISOs mean longer shutter speeds. You'll have to keep your camera steady to avoid blurry pictures, so turn your image stabilization off and use a tripod or brace your camera against a light post. Alternatively, try holding your camera by hand and using those long shutter speeds to your advantage by capturing motion as I did in this shot from Jaipur, India.

Black and White or Colour?

Night Photo 2

Night-time city lights are orange and ugly. Try using high contrast black and white for a special noir look.

Night Photo 3

If you'd rather shoot in colour, try the hour after sunset or the hour before sunrise to capture deep blue hues in the sky. Deep blue balances nicely against tungsten city lights.

Night Photography on a Point and Shoot?

You can take great looking night pictures with any camera. Here's a shot from Chicago captured on an old point and shoot that's worth about £40 today.

Night Photo 4

To create this image, I used a tripod and set the camera to its lowest ISO setting of 80. I captured the scene as a 9-shot panorama, and I stitched and edited the photo with software available for free online (Hugin, GIMP, and Picasa).

Remember that the best pictures are the ones that inspire, motivate, and show the world something new. I can't wait to see what you come up with this week!

Good luck!

Ed Graham


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