Night Photography

Captured image of Pixel Stick using a Canon 5D Mark III, using a EF24 - 105 mm len, at ISO 100, f/11, 33 sec exposure
Captured image of Pixel Stick using a Canon 5D Mark III, using a EF24 – 105 mm len, at ISO 100, f/11, 33 sec exposure

We have recently found ourselves doing quite a bit of night photography.  During a recent trip to Death Valley, we seemed to concentrate on shooting stars, wagons and dunes at night.  Last night, we were out with a photography club “light painting”.  It must be getting warmer.  Corinne really enjoys photographing at night.  I enjoy shooting as long as I am not cold.

As an exercise, shooting at night forces you to become very familiar with your camera setting.  More importantly, you become pretty familiar with what those setting actually do!  Experimenting with F-stop, ISO and shutter speed give direct feedback in low-light shooting.  Adding “long exposure noise reduction” also has a significant impact on the process of taking photographs at night.  It gets especially fun when your eyes no longer predict what the camera sees.

There are a number of YouTube videos and blogs that will tell you the keys to night photography.  From a photographic perspective, we take a lot of test shots before we actually try to make our “keeper” shot.

However, we think the most important consideration for night photography is dressing for the conditions.  Even in very warm environments, like the desert, it can get cold at night.  Having warm cloths, gloves, a hat can really make a difference in your comfort.  We also like to pack small chairs with us on our night photography trips.  You will be taking long exposures sometimes these are hours in length.  Having a comfortable place to relax can really improve the experience.  Snacks and drinks also contribute to a nice evening.

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