There are some photographers that don’t go out at night. For many, the perception is that with the lack of ambient light, all your shot will turn out blurry, noisy or dark. In reality, within most city centers there is a wealth of photographic opportunities just waiting to be discovered, all using the available light.~Simon Bray
Shooting subjects in daylight is challenging enough. We often produce blurry, out of focus images even in bright light. What more at night, in an urban landscape with only neon signs, street lamps and lights from buildings? The special condition of low light situation presents an obstacle to photographers but these can all be overcome, and you do not need to be an expert. Night photography can produce some of the most remarkable and impressive photos. To do this you have to remember some simple guidelines.
David Peterson, founder of DigitalPhotoSecrets.com, presents some tips in his article Spectacular Night Shots In 5 Easy Steps. These are:
1. Get a tripod
2. Find a high-traffic location or an interesting street sign
3. Frame the shot in an interesting way
4. Pick an aperture of F8 and shoot some experimental shots at a slow shutter speed
5. Readjust and keep shooting
You will notice that the steps provided by Peterson is a combination of the technical and the creative. The technical side is where you have to learn all about your camera, its features and what it can do. Once you know that, then you can do a lot of things such as shooting with shutter speed priority or long exposures, the technique which creates silky smooth waterfalls and, in night photography, those amazing light trails. The creative side is where you have to draw on your knowledge to come up with the proper framing and effective composition. We are often deterred in doing night photography thinking this needs specialized equipment. The only other thing you need aside from your camera is a tripod. Everything else boils down to you – your patience, passion and resolve. Add these personal traits when doing night photography. The resulting images are rewarding.
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart and head.~Henri Cartier-Bresson (Photo location: City of Manila)
Many are stuck in the city, working that daily routine called an office job. Never having time to commune with nature. The urban jungle is a mosaic of people, buildings, steel, glass, cars, streets – the metropolitan landscape. You may think they are hardly worthy subjects for your photographic sojourns. But no. There is such a thing as cityscape and street photography. And there are lots of interesting images if that is your corner of the world. Author Kathy Wilson gives us a rundown in her article Cityscape Photography – Tips and Tricks. The article will guide you on what to look out for, the right time to shoot the skyline, things to consider (especially if you’re in a crowded place), and the all-important precautions (there are places you’re not allowed to take pictures). Hold your head and hopes high if you are an urbanite. Being stuck in the city doesn’t mean you can’t take great pictures. We go back again to some of the basics we’ve covered in previous posts – being receptive and training the eye to spot something interesting, something unique, something colorful, something that has pattern, perspective, shape, contrast, depth and meaning. From the biggest structure to the minutest detail, capturing the city in a day (let’s say a weekend where you are free from work) will result in either running out of memory card or battery or both, whichever comes first. (Photo location: Makati City)