Friday, February 6, 2009

Night Photography

Night photography can be difficult because of the long shutter speeds required to capture the light. It is almost impossible to do this without a tripod, and even then, if the image is moving it may be blurred (or at least without the sharpness that you would see with normal daylight photography). To maximize your photo: 1) Use a tripod 2) Set the ISO* up to the highest that your camera will allow without resulting in a grainy image 3) For moving objects, shoot them as they are coming towards you rather than as they go by because then the motion will be minimized and 4) Use the largest aperture and longest shutter speed that will still give you the desired effect. Shorter shutter speeds will capture action, diminish movement, but may not be possible in low lighting. The settings for this photo, Spectramagic, a parade of lit floats at Disney World in Orlando Florida were: Shutter: 0.013 sec(1/80), Aperture: f/4.8, ISO Speed: 3200

*ISO (also called ASA) is the setting that sets light sensitivity (and is a holdover from film photography). ISO with film referred to how sensitive the film was to light and could be adjusted in the process of making the film. With a digital camera, ISO sensitivity refers to how much light the sensor will collect. If you turn it up too high, it will collect your image, but also a lot of light "noise" leading to a grainy image. Generally, in good light, shoot at 100 ISO for the best saturation and the least amount of noise.

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