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Join photographer and teacher Ben Long as he describes the tools, creative options, and special considerations involved in shooting with a DSLR camera at night or in low-light conditions, such as sunset or candlelight. The course addresses exposure decisions such as choice of aperture and shutter speed and how they impact depth of field and the camera’s ability to freeze motion.
Ben also shows how to obtain accurate color balance in tungsten and fluorescent lighting situations, and how to postprocess the images in Photoshop to remove noise caused by higher ISO settings. He also demonstrates accessories that can greatly expand your low-light photography options.
The high ISO capabilities of today's cameras opens up a wealth of low-light and nighttime landscape shooting possibilities. But with those new opportunities comes some new problems, and in this chapter, we're going to look at the different issues you'll face when you take your camera out at night and point it at a landscape. Before we get into that though, I want to bring your attention to one thing. I'm standing here about 45 minutes after sunset, and I'm looking in the direction where the sun just went down. What I'm seeing with my eye is dark, a nice dark sky with bright city lights. But, if I point my camera at it and take a picture, I'm going to get something very different.
I cranked my ISO up to 3200, and at the moment, I'm just following what the camera thinks I should do. I am in program mode, and I'm taking its suggestion for shutter speed and aperture. When I take the shot--and it's a long shutter speed, because it's dark out here--I get this. That is not a dark sky. The afterglow of the sunset is still raging through the sky there, and I'm not just getting a really bright sky, I'm getting a really colorful sky. So I'm bringing this up because if you have this idea that oh! look over there, it's really dark, and I'm going to run and take a picture of that, if it's too soon after sunset, you're not going to get a dark sky; you're going to need to wait till later.
The upside of that is you get this beautiful color. It's this whole new kind of palette that you can work with here. I've got city lights on, but a really daytime-looking sky. It's a very interesting thing to play with, and what's great about it is you don't have to wait too long. You don't have to go out too late at night to begin to get this. Now, if I turn 180 degrees and shoot in that direction, I'm not going to have this. The sky really will look dark in the final picture over there. It's just when I'm pointing into the sunset. Get out a little bit after sunset, play with this. I think you'll find a number of new creative possibilities to explore.
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