If you are shooting with a lens that is slower than an aperture of 2.8 at night, you are screwed. There is nothing more frustrating than using a zoom lens at night which has only a maximum aperture of 3.5 or so.
Night lights are beautiful, and the illuminations they give off as well as the shadows they project truly make nighttime street photographs special. Not only that, but if you want to capture static images, shooting with illuminated lights will allow you to capture images with a much faster shutter speed. Many people are naturally afraid of shooting during the night, due to worries about getting mugged or having their camera stolen.
The wreck site is at grid reference SK 09042 94912 which is just to the West of the trig point on Higher Shelf Stones. They look not bad at all Ian , did you use a tripod and long exposure at all or did you rely on a light and flash .?
No ghosts Andy, though this particular crash site has a lot of ghost stories associated with it. I am in awe of your technique and processing, and the exceptional effort you go to to get your photos! Thanks James, yeah, did a bivi, spent the night up there, wandering around and taking snaps.
I guess it’s all been said above already, but this is definitely a great shot and a very meritable subject. The following shoot came to be as I was driving in Malta a few weeks back and looked across a newly clear cut plot of land to see a dilapidated farm-scape straight out of The Walking Dead.
Before you even start thinking to shoot night sky (and astrophotography in general) make sure that you have clear weather and there is not too much light pollution in your area: you might want to check a dark sky finder and charts (try this) just in case. Stars continously move accross the sky (well, obviously it is the Earth that moves, but let’s keep it now at a basic perception level). You might want to set aperure to its fastest selection, that is the lowest number available, and the widest aperture for your lens. You can get a classical rendering of the sky, where everything appears to be in its own place, sort of the way we see things as we stare at the night sky.
Or, instead, you can have an astonishing set of star trails, which all appears to revolve around the North Star (or the southern celestial pole, alternatively), contrasting with the landscape elements (which remain steady in your frame).
Proper exposure should be set by changing time: make some test yourself, starting from a few seconds and doubling exposure every new step. The best approach is multiple image stacking, that is: take multiple images and layer them one on top to the other. Once you go back home with your shots, you will need to edit them in order to squeeze the best from their pixels and get really eye-catching final pictures. You need some software to apply deconvolution algorithms, stack and align all your pictures, thus generating a single, bright, crisp photograph.
General, free picture editing software like Gimp could effectively be used for your goal, but consider it a very labor intensive task.In order to deconvolute short star trails (eliminate trails due to slightly long exposure times) Refocus or Refocus-it are useful plug-ins, as well as other filters and editing tricks, while stacking and aligning can be done straight with layers. Any fast-moving source of light (or light-reflecting surface) moving across your frame while the shutter is open will leave a blurred trace of its presence into your picture.


Do not forget, at the very beginning and at the very end of your series, to shoot a couple of variations of the foreground objects (say, you might try with and without a flashgun).
Image processing is done again with about the same software tools, just keeping and enhancing trails instead of avoiding them. If you are interested in shooting stars, you might find that the most interesting falling stars shower happens every year, in the first days of August, having its peak on August 12th.Meteors are mostly to be observed in the second part of each night, that is from midnight on. There were several of you who mentioned an article about how to shoot street photography at night. Nowadays digital cameras have amazing high-ISO capabilities, so don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO. If you see the image above by Garry Winograd, he is able to beautifully capture an image of a man with a patch over his face, accompanied by his beautiful companion in his top-down convertible in Los Angeles. There have even been times in which I accidentally captured motion at night due to a slower shutter speed–but much preferred the outcome.
When first shooting street photography, I used a tripod at night a few times thinking that it would aid my night images. It makes focusing a hell of a lot easier and has helped me capture images in which I had only a split of a second to focus. Regardless of what type of autofocusing system your camera has, the technology is still much too slow and inaccurate. When shooting street photography at night, try to go to urban city-centers, where people are abundant and flashing lights are everywhere. First time I ever heard of a crash site in the hills, it was a ghost story about this place in The Great Outdoors magazine, around 1987. So, depending on what time of the year and when through the night you look at the sky, you will see the same stars in different positions relative to the Earth. Including the Milky Way into your frame would probably add a fascinating factor to your photographs.
This is usually named VR (vibration reduction) by Nikon, IS (Image Stabilization) by Canon, SR (Shake Reduction) by Pentax, SS (Steady Shot) by Sony, and so on. This is generated by a very long exposure time setting (in the range of hours) or better by a composed bunch of shorter shots. Thus, once you find the right exposure, take a sequence of shots: try 5, 10, 20 of them, as a start. Add some warm clothes for you in your bag, plus a couple of old socks to wrap your lens in order to avoid it chilling; extra batteries are also a must. In the background, you can see another car whizzing by, which gives you a dynamic feel of the image.
This allows your camera to collect much more available light during the night, which will allow you to get quicker shutter speeds. Sure you can shoot at night with a zoom lens with an aperture of 2.8, but zoom lenses like that are often too bulky and heavy to shoot street photography with anyways. However, I do not discount the merits of focusing manually when shooting street photography, especially when shooting from the hip. Switch your camera to focusing manually, and you will have far more control over focusing and will be able to focus much quicker in general.


Take for example this great post on The Online Photographer in which Corinne Vionnet stacked hundreds of images of tourists who took photos in the same spot.┬áLet your curiosity lead you and capture amazing images. Only the North Star stays still, beeing aligned with the Earth’s axis of rotation (here is why it has been used as a reference point for navigation through the ages) while the whole sky is pivoting around it. Focusing in dark conditions is sometimes easier if you place a flashlight next to your subject and focus on that light. Actually, some cameras (like Pentax K-5 and K-r) can use their sensor-shift capability to reduce star trails, so, as always, read your manual before using your camera. Trigger the shutter by means of a remote release or, in case you do not have one, use the camera self-timer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, with atmosphere, sunrise and sunset effects, more than 210 million stars, the planets and their satellites, and a lot more.
I love shooting at night, because I feel that is when you can capture the true soul of the urban jungle–when street lights illuminate and people are on the prowl. When shooting during the day, I often even add grain to my images to give it a more urban feel.
Without that motion blur, the image may have felt much too static and wouldn’t have had the same effect. If you shoot aperture-dependent mode or automatic mode, try using an ISO of 200-400 to capture motion. But when using auto-focus or using manual-focus are both options you have when shooting during the day (and light is plentiful).
Shooting street photography at night allows for much more mysterious scenes and images than shooting during the day. Once you will get enough experience and excitement with your images, there will be time to improve you technique.
Not only that, but it slowed me down and prevented me from capturing the decisive moments I wanted to at night. I then called Jess and Janet over at Angela’s Bridal for the red dress and Alayne Curtiss from Make Me Fabulous for hair and make-up; within a week we had our shoot planned! It is usually an interesting visual choice to include some landscape elements in your frame.
I am thrilled with how the shoot came out and am eager for our next wedding to capture some more night photography. As an idea, you could also mostly include static objects into the frame, while leaving only a proportionally smaller area to the sky. There is no such thing as a best focal lenght for shooting skies: you might start with a 35mm lens, which is usually a good choice as a general lens. Also, a standard 50mm lens can be a good choice: it is usually a faster lens, allowing for shorter shots.



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