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urban night photography


  • photographing urban city lights adds an extra bonus to your travel photography
  • shooting about 10-25 minutes after sunset will give your cloudless sky a nice deep blue
  • shooting when the full moon is up and behind you will help to fill in the shadows a bit

use a tripod

  • for best image quality, you need a sturdy tripod, lowest ISO, medium apertures (eg. f/8) for adequate sharpness and depth of field (DOF), and this results in long exposures such as:
    • ISO 200, f/8, 10-20 seconds
  • you should consider bracketing your exposures +/- 0.5 EV, of you can do a full HDR bracket (eg. 3 shot +/- 1EV, 5 shot +/- 2EV in total)
  • make sure you have focus on infinity if you have no important close subjects, otherwise consider focusing on the hyperfocal distance for that set up.

if you don't have a tripod

  • if you are lucky enough to have a Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with a Olympus m.ZD 12mm f/2.0 lens then you CAN get reasonable wide angle hand held shots at the following settings
    • ISO 800, f/2.0 and 1/4 second with the 5EV image stabiliser activated
      • you may be able to do a very carefully held 1/2 second and 1/8th second shot for HDR work as well
  • if you have a full frame dSLR with a 24mm f/1.4 lens, you are going to have trouble as you will need:
    • ISO 3200, f/1.4 and ~1/30sec - it is possible but very shallow DOF which will be very annoying, and you will need to hold it very steady.
    • note that unlike mirrorless camera systems, dSLRs have mirror lock up to contend with:
      • Mirror lock-up can drastically increase sharpness for exposure times comparable to the settling time of the mirror (~1/30 to 2 seconds)
photo/night.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/01 11:59 by gary1

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