Previously we showed you some of the common errors of night photography and how to fix them, and specifically within that tutorial we talked about making star trails. Now that you’ve had some time to try and achieve the effect in-camera using a long exposure, we thought we would show you how you can fake it and make star trails with a lot less hassle.
Capturing the movement of the stars across the night sky would normally involve exposures of several minutes, but on a digital camera this can result in unwanted noise. The easiest way to overcome this problem is to take a sequence of shorter exposures (of around 30 seconds each) and combine them into a single image in Photoshop.
The days may be getting longer, but (hopefully) they will also be getting warmer. Spring and summer are perfect times of the year to explore the world of night photography, but as you can imagine, there are many challenges when working with long exposures. Below we’ve identified 12 of the most common problems you’ll encounter when shooting night photography and offered our tips for overcoming them.
Do you have your own night photography tips, or perhaps problems you’ve encountered in your own night photography endeavours that we haven’t covered here? Why not share them in the comments!
While you can achieve a long shutter exposure easily at dusk and dawn, what if you want to use a long exposure during the day? The trick is to get yourself a strong ND filter (neutral density), which cuts out nine or 10 stops of light.
A long exposure can create milky water effects and is great for waterfall pictures, as well as blurred clouds in when shooting landscape photography; but that isn’t their only use. A long exposure is also handy for making moving subjects ‘disappear’ when you shoot buildings, street scenes or architecture. Sometimes it’s great to include people in a scene to give a sense of scale or location, but they can be distracting if you want a clean composition.
Waterfall pictures are some of the most satisfying subjects you can shoot with your digital camera. However, the fast moving water throws up some challenges for photographers.
Often, exposures end up disappointing – you may have set the wrong shutter speed, for instance, and won’t get the traditional blurred-water effect in your waterfall pictures. Other times the exposure ends up being too dark or light, due to having to cope with the combination of dark rocks and bright, foamy moving water.
We’ve collected 30 great examples of motion blur photography from around the web. If you want to know how you can achieve motion blur, our tutorial can help.
25 fantastic examples of light-trail drawings using long-exposure
Get into winter photography with our festive Things to try feature this month. Shoot birds and berries in snow and frost, capture the hustle and bustle of a Christmas market, take great family portraits and more…
Tired of textbook landscape photos? Want photo ideas that offer you something a little more impressionistic? Then go slow and get moving. By using slow shutter speeds and moving the camera smoothly during the exposure, you can create striking abstract landscapes. Shoot handheld for unpredictable results or – as we explain here – use a tripod and move the camera in one direction for more defined scenic ‘streaks’.
While it’s important to pursue pin-sharp shots, intentionally blurring parts of a scene, or the whole picture itself, can lead to a more expressive image.