Night Photography

The procedure of capturing an image is comparable to the “blue hour” photography. Due to the weak light that is available at night, a tripod is usually required. The ISO rate should be kept low in order to preserve image quality.

If images are underexposed although the longest period of exposure was used, the ISO rate must be increased respectively. The camera should not shake at all while capturing the image. This means that the camera should be placed on a stable object or, to ease the process, placed on a tripod. The use of a remote shutter release or a self-timer release is recommendable. If you are using a single-lens reflex camera, the mirror lock-up should be activated. Ensure that image stabilisation systems show no effect when using a tripod and therefore cannot result in blurred images. Examine the information provided by the manufacturer or deactivate these systems while you are using a tripod.

In extreme darkness and very long periods of exposure, in many cases analog photography has the upper hand compared to digital photography. Long periods of exposure can result in image noise in digital photography, but in analog photography this problem does not occur. In analog photography, when monitoring the exposure you have to be aware of the reciprocity law. This phenomenon occurs during long periods of exposure and can result in underexposed images. For long periods of exposure you should use bracketing in order to examine the way the material reacts to the exposure times used. More information on the reciprocity can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(photography)

Tip
Images captured at the blue hour have more impact than images captured under a night sky. Many so-called night photographs are not actually captured in full darkness but in the blue hour. This is a lighting condition that occurs shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset. More information on this topic can be found in the article “blue hour”.

Reflexions on water or e.g., wet streets create interesting night photographs.

Malecón at night - Havana - Cuba 2008

Malecón at night - Havana - Cuba 2008


The following image shows New York in spring 2001. The image shows the night sky illuminated by the city (light pollution). This type of lighting condition, aside from the overcast sky, would be very problematic for astrophotography. Due to the surface of water, which is the Hudson River and the reflexions of the artificial light source, the image reveals yet another interesting element. The movement of the water’s surface combined with the long period of exposure casts a soft focus on the reflexions.

New York by Night - 2001

New York by Night - 2001
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