When the days slowly turn dark in October and all the landmarks and buildings of the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS slowly start to light up during the blue hour, it is time to go on a safari with a camera. Of course, the photo shooting is not to be take to literally and the objects also do not move very quickly. However, it will not be quite simple to capture the impressive atmosphere properly. Here our experts give tips for perfect night photography:
CEWE Studio Manager, Robert Geipel, DGPh
Experiment with the exposure time while recording when the colour changes of the illuminated buildings. For example, changes the lighting from red to blue, the image in the camera will tend to have a magenta tone at a longer exposure time of about 1 second because red and blue result in magenta.
The heave must not be clear for night photography. You can take beautiful pictures even in the rain (also get an umbrella, so that the lens does not get rained on) or after a downpour due to the very wonderful reflections on the ground. In fog light great images are possible because the beam of for example street lights is diffusely scattered and therefore, impressive images may happen. When it rains, it is a good trick to wrap the camera in plastic wrap. Only the lens is released and the camera is better protected from moisture. Wipe off water drops on the lens.
Nowadazs, most cameras are very intelligent and reliable when it comes down to exposure and white balance (WB). So you can concentrate on the subject and not have to constantly keep an eye on the technology. When in doubt, make a bracketing (sub, normal and overexposure) and choose the best exposure or render a HDR – High Dynamic Range – Image. You can also use take images manually. Just select the menu program (M) of you camera instead of an automatic program (A). Make a test exposure and then vary the shutter speed until the exposure needs are met.
For objects that are artificially illuminated, especially at light shows that are quite bright, it also common to shot straight forward without a tripod (for example equipped with highly sensitive cameras from 3200 ISO and a wide-angle lens such as 18mm Aperture from f: 3.5). Although one or the other motif might be blurred or “noisy”, have the advantage of spontaneously creating snapshots.
At night you can take very amazing and abstract photos with the art of “subject free photography”. In this case, you do not necessarily need a tripod. It is best to set the camera on continuous shooting and shutter priority (T, TV, S). In this mode time can be selected by the photographer. Set it on approximately ½ to 1 Second at about 800 ISO to 3200 ISO. The panel will be automatically set by the camera. Now, the photographer must be active during the exposure: move the camera or zoom in or rotate the images or any combination of all – pan, rotate and zoom. Be creative and also change exposure times. By assessing the pictures on the camera screen, you are most certainly encouraged to experiment further. Since this technique randomly designs motifs, it is best to work with serial images.
Avoid bright backlight, for example, a street lamp in the foreground. Take another cutout and make sure that the lamp is not shining into the lens.
Scattered light is our enemy. Avoid headlights that shine directly into the lens or a dominant diffuse light source.
Avoid extreme contrasts between light and dark. Make HDR-images for non-moving subjects. HDR: High Dynamic Range Image is a form of underexposure, correct exposure and increased exposure of a subject. A programme correctly contrasts the photo.