Lessons in Night Photography

Wednesday, March 2, 2011  at 7:00 AM
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The first time I went to France, I was fascinated by the way the buildings became lit up at night.  It seemed like a fantastic game of lights playing with old stones and turning crumbling castles into Disney-worthy dreams.  The first time, I was content to admire the show and imprint it upon my memory.

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The second time I went to France, I was armed with my small, 3MP point-and-shoot camera, determined to capture the magic from my memory on an SD card.   Instead of emerging victorious, I met only brutal disappointment as my best efforts resulted in photos of total darkness, photos of blurry light halos, and, my favorite, the smear of light that might be a face but also might just be that streetlight behind you.

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However, I am determined!  This next trip shall be glorious and filled with beautiful, awe-inspiring night photos (or at least ones where you can tell where a face starts and the streetlight ends).  I read several interesting guides to night-time photography recently, notably the exhaustive guide, Night Photography, by Andrew Sanderson.  Armed with my camera and my Gorilla-pod I went out to experiment and these were what I created!

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I find that a long F-stop (between 4 and 12) coupled with as small of an ISO as possible, all balanced upon a very stable tripod, works the best.  Next up: more painting with light (the last photo is me playing around with that) and more playing around to create the sharpest photos!  Old castles, I WILL be ready for you next time!
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