Night or low-light photography requires little equipment and can be a lot of fun.
You don’t need a lot of equipment.
A tripod is a necessity. For the pictures of the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside, I didn’t have mine, so I rested my Canon 40D on my camera bag which was set on a row of mailboxes.
Use the self -timer
I set the self-timer to trigger after 2 seconds of activating the shutter release. The results you can see above.
Don’t try to “squeeze” the shutter release if you have a self-timer. The act of squeezing the shutter is will shake the camera even if you don’t move the camera, don’t forget the prism in the body has to move up and out of the way and the shutter curtain will have to open and close.
All that means some vibration and you want to allow your camera to stop shaking before you trip the shutter.
That limitation varies according to what focal length lens you’re using and of course how you’re bracing yourself.
If your camera allows you to set the self-timer to 10 seconds, that may be too long, unless you plan on running into the frame and being in the picture.
Use a low ISO setting
If at all possible, set a low ISO because higher settings produce a lot of “digital noise.” Digital noise is the equivalent of grain in film.
You could remove some of that in photoshop.
Look in the blue channel. Don’t have photoshop?
Then set a low ISO and don’t sweat it.
If you have $80 to spare, you can try Noise Ninja. It’s available asÂ plug-in for photoshop or a standalone application.
Why mess around in post production and photoshop? Shoot it right. It’s a good habit and mindset.
If you have a point and shoot camera, you get what you get in terms of quality. Consider photoshop and noise removal software if you can’t live with the noise.
Try Changing the White Balance
As with my previous post on Naples Island, this can make a very dramatic difference in your pictures. Don’t just settle for what Automatic White Balance gives you.
The 2 pictures above, taken with my Canon Sureshot G3, illustrate what a headache color can be for night photography. Taken from the Long Beach Convention Center, there was a preponderance of sodium vapor lighting and also florescent.
Even when I set the White Balance to Tungsten, I saw a lot of yellow. In the end, you just have to correct for the dominant cast and live with the other.
I had to remove some more yellow in Photoshop.
It’s a a good place to remind everyone not to be seduced by new gear. For instance if you buy a new digital SLR, you can expect some things to break in your workflow.
Digital imaging and photography is so tied into computer and software that all sorts of problems arise whenever you upgrade.
I don’t know if all of Leopard’s issues have been straightened out. I’m at 10.5.6 but Adobe’s Lightroom is now at version 2.2 and Photoshop is now CS4!
Happy New Year. Let me know if you like the new look.