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Chapter 18


Night Photography





        Taking pictures at night is great fun and you can get some spectacular shots. Subjects range from the moon and stars to cities, amusement parks, fireworks, sunsets, and car head and tail lights. Cars and Nighttime Traffic

        Below you will fine some strange photos that were make on Cape Cod while driving at night, I was not driving, I was in the back seat taking pictures through the rear window.

        What I did was open the shutter by put the camera on Bulb so that the shutter stayed open for as long as I held down the shutter button. Anyway, I twisted and turned the camera catching head lights of the following cars and the tail lights of the cars going the other way.

        What fun. And as this was done on film, on slides actually, I had no way of knowing if I was getting anything or not. As you can see I did get come great shots.

        Exposure? Who knows, I opened the lens all the way and held the shutter open. The lens was my old, beaten up, and reliable Nikon 50mm f2.0.

        Fireworks

        Rockets, explosions, noise who could ask for more. Fire works are simply great subject matter. And here is the tip, the secret to great fireworks shots. Shoot with both eyes open.

        Hold the look through the camera certainly, but with your other open follow the firework up into the sky. When it explodes wait just a fraction of a second for it to expand to what you want then take the shot. Use a shutter speed of 1/60, or 1/125 if you shoot longer say 1/30 or 1/15 the bright fireworks will ball through your photo and appear as lines.

        This can be accomplished hand held or by using a tripos. If you use the tripod use the same technique with both eyes open. Loosen the tripod head so that it freely moves in any direction and let it hold the camera, but not impede you movement of the camera. Works great, we have used both techniques. Why take a tripos if you don't need it? Well, gee fireworks aren't the only thing to shoot that night. And a steady rest will come in very handy for those long exposures of 5, 10, 30 or more seconds.

        Moon Light

        Moon light? Yes, even the moon can light your photographs. You will likely need a tripod, but with fast film or a fast digital camera and a full moon maybe not.

        The moon is bright, yes it is. And an excellent source of sunlight. Sunlight, yes, the moon has no light of its own, so it reflects sunlight.

        There is no color correction to make, daylight film works just fine. So, when there is moon light take the camera and get going there are just spectacular pictures waiting for you.

        Stop reading this. Go take pictures. Take them at night. Of course people will think you are crazy. Your a photographer... get used to it.




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