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There are a couple of planning tips you will need to bear in mind before you take any night time photographs of cities:
You first want to choose a good viewpoint;
Once you have chosen your viewpoint the second thing you will need is either a solid base or a tripod to set your camera on. Viewpoints always depend on what type of shot you are looking for. I will typically try to look for somewhere that is little bit above the ground (a set of steps, for example), but not always. Some times the best photos are those which are taken at ground level.
A tripod or solid base is recommended because your camera\’s shutter will be open for several seconds, and you want to make sure your camera is absolutely still during that time.
If you are using a tripod you will also want to be sure you secure your camera using the screws provided. If you simply can\’t find a solid surface to place your camera on you can always try propping it up with something like a bag or jacket.
Once you have figured out how to secure your camera you want to set the shutter speed for a few seconds. I recommend starting with about 15 seconds.
If you are unable to control the shutter speed, set it to \”night\” mode.
You are ready to take your pictures once you have everything arranged (camera on a solid surface and self timer primed).
Before pressing the shutter button you must first observe your scene. Is everything in it that you are hoping for? If you are looking to get streaking headlights do you see any traffic around?
Once you have everything in place you can finally press the shutter button.
The self timer should begin to count down. Please note that if you are waiting for something to appear in your scene you need to remember that your shutter speed will have to count down first – time for this.
When the shutter clicks, wait. And wait, and wait . . . until it closes again. Remember that this will be a few seconds.
If you don\’t see the preview right away on the LCD there is no need to worry. Due to the long exposure time digital cameras usually take longer than usual to process the photo.
If you are looking for some ideas on what to photograph here are a few things that I have used which make a good night photography shot:
Neon lights Streaks of car headlights and tail lights Available light For all of these you do need to plan a bit in advance. You want to find an area where you can safely photograph neon lights.
Find your solid spot (or put your camera onto a tripod), and then take a few shots. Because neon lights flash you will need the shutter to be open for some time in order to catch all the flashes.
And for photographing streaks of car headlights and tail lights – find a spot with a lot of traffic, but again, be safe in your choice of locations.
A tip is to try and get something in the background as well, usually streaks of light on their own can be somewhat boring!
Now you can take your shot.
Please know that the longer your shutter is open, the more streaks you will capture. And of course, the more traffic there is, the more streaks will appear too!
Available light also plays a part in capturing a good night shot.
There are times when a scene looks its best when you set it amongst inky-black skies. There are also times when a little light works best, so photos just prior to dark really sets in are worth a try too.
Try both, and see what captures the effect you are after best.
You also will want to play around with your shutter speed since there are times you will find that a 10 second exposure gets the look you are after. Sometimes you may need up to a minute.
If you practice you will soon get a feel for what you will need for any given situation.
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