Between dusk and dawn
Night photography is one of those things that you either love or hate, depending on if you’re up for the challenge. It is something that takes a very long time to master, and using manual settings is a must do. I feel in love with it by just looking at all the creative things people were doing with slow shutter speeds. I found it intriguing that you could be just as creative at night as you can during the day.
One of the most essential parts about mastering the art of both night photography and video is understanding how shutter speeds work. The shutter is the part of the camera that lifts up to expose the cameras sensor to light. The shutter speed is how long the shutter is lifted up for the sensor to be exposed. So the longer the sensor is exposed to light, the brighter you photo will end up. This is crucial when taking night photos, because if you didn’t realize, it gets very dark at night. This means that you have to make your shutter speed longer in order to allow more light to be captured by the sensor. This becomes a challenge because the slower the shutter speed is the higher the chance that your photo will come out blurry. One thing that I always have in my bag when I’m on a night photography mission, is a tripod. This will ensure that your photos come out crisp and not blurry.
by Alex Paul
Focus is also a very important aspect of night photography because a camera has a harder time autofocusing in dark environments. Mastering manual focus is a great skill to have with night photography because it can be quicker and more accurate than autofocus at night. Manual focus is especially important when you are doing astrophotography because your camera doesn’t have the ability to focus on the stars because they are so dim.
Astrophotography can produce some of the most amazing photos of the endless universe, but it is a hard skill to master or even to attempt. Every photographer dreams about getting that perfectly composed shot of the creamy Milky Way crawling across the black velvet sky. But most people don’t know the hurdles you have to jump through to take photos like that. Don’t worry though, because a photo like that can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Astrophotography is definitely something you have to master. Knowing your shutter speed and ISO settings are some of the skills that you should be very keen on before you spend a lot of time trying to take star photos.
by Alex Paul
Another big hurdle is light pollution. In our ever expanding world where lights shine out into the atmosphere. Light pollution occurs when a large mass of exposed lights sine into the sky and reflect off of the particles in the atmosphere blanketing out most of the stars and night sky. If you’re going to attempt astrophotography I suggest checking out www.lightpollutionmap.info to see where the closest non-light polluted area is to you.
Another big factor is knowing where to look in the dark night sky. The Milky Way is not always visible to the naked eye but if you know where to look it can be a huge time saver. I suggest using Google Earth and the time of day slider to figure out the position of the Milky Way at your shooting location.
Night arts are a challenging but versatile and extremely creative medium to work in, but some of the photos that you can produce during the night can be spectacular. If you practice and master the skills that help you perfect night photography it will pay off. Remember everything in photography takes patience and persistence, if you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying because it’s all about perfecting the technique.