Night Photography: set up your camera to shoot anything

    | Night | Photography Tips | 18/06/2012 16:06pm
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    How slow should I set my shutter speed to capture motion blur?

     

    Night Photography: capturing motion blur

    Cars and trucks can play havoc with your compositions when shooting during the day. But at night city traffic is a real advantage.

    The moving headlights and tail lights are converted into ribbons of red and white throughout your picture, making a surprisingly attractive feature of the rush-hour roads. But in order to create this effect you have to set a shutter speed that’s slow enough.

    The exact speed will depend on how fast the traffic is moving and on how much of the road you have in the frame. But, as a general rule, the longer the shutter speed the better.

    This gives wider streaks and unbroken lines of light. For the average city street, an exposure of 20 seconds or more is ideal (but don’t forget the tripod!). Factors such as traffic lights will mean you’ll have to judge exactly when to start the exposure to maximise the movement during the shot.

    How do I set a slow enough shutter speed?

    An easy way to set the longest shutter speed available is to use your camera’s Av mode. Then use the thumbwheel behind the shutter release button to set the narrowest aperture that your lens allows (usually between f/22 and f/32).

    Night Photography: using slow shutter speeds

    1/8sec

    Night Photography: using slow shutter speeds

    15secs

    Night Photography: using slow shutter speeds

    30secs

    The maximum shutter speed available in this mode on many DSLRs is 30 seconds. To get longer shutter speeds, you 
need to switch to M (Manual mode).

    Here you can use the Bulb setting to keep the shutter open for as long as the cable-release button is pressed (find out how to use Bulb mode). You may need an ND filter to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor.

    PAGE 1: Overview
    PAGE 2: Choosing the right aperture
    PAGE 3: Choosing the right shutter speed
    PAGE 4: Choosing the right ISO settings
    PAGE 5: Choosing the right White Balance
    PAGE 6: Using flash in your night photography

    READ MORE

    12 common errors of night photography (and how to solve them)
    9 essential night photography tips for beginners
    Manual Focus: what you need to know to get sharp images
    Download free photography cheat sheets
    99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)


    Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at 4:06 pm under Night, Photography Tips.

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