Peter Haarhoff of Cape Photographic Company e-mailed this newsletter that may be of interest to members.
Hello Helderberg Photographic Society
I think there is something magical about taking photographs at night, something that is often lacking in normal daylight photographs, but as the sun goes down, it becomes harder to capture stunning images without the proper equipment and techniques.
Here are a few pointers to help you take good night time photographs:
USE LONG EXPOSURES
The key to successful night photography lies in long exposures. The problem with long exposures is that you might move the camera during the exposure, resulting in blurry pictures. The way around this is to use a tripod. I prefer to use a tripod and a cable release fitted to my camera, just to make sure I do not move the camera at all during the long exposure.
If you do not have a cable, or shutter release for your camera, try using the camera’s self timer instead.
NOISE REDUCTION MODE
Use your camera’s “Noise Reduction Mode” to reduce the effect of noise on your photographs, if you are not sure whether your camera has a feature like this, refer to your instruction manual, or send me a email and I will check for you. If your camera does not have a “Noise Reduction Mode”, try using a very low ISO setting. That will also help to reduce noise.
HOW TO USE THE FLASH
As a general rule, I turn the flash off when taking scenic photographs at night. There are some exceptions though- one specific example I can think of is when you want take a photograph of a person, showing beautiful lights in the background. You then need to use your camera’s flash to light up the person, combined with a slow shutter speed to capture the beautiful lights in the background.
TRY TO CAPTURE MOTION
With a long exposure, you have many creative options available, like capturing motion. For example, have you ever wondered how those professional photographers take pictures of cars at night with the lights trailing behind? It’s all done with a long exposure. Try to keep this in mind next time you’re taking a night photo- you don’t have to restrict yourself to still images.
TIP FOR BEGINNERS
Try using your camera’s “Night Time Mode”, this is normally indicated by a half moon, or buildings with stars, or even a flash off icon on your camera. Simply select this mode, place your camera onto a tripod, and…there you go!
INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE…
JOIN THE “DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK” PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOP AT THE V&A WATERFRONT ON SATURDAY 29TH OF AUGUST 2009 FOR ONLY R150 per person
LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE!
FORTHCOMING PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS
29 August 2009 – “Don’t be afraid of the Dark” at the V&A Waterfront
Learn how to take stunning photographs at night with long exposures
5 September 2009 – “It’s the motion of the ocean” on Blouberg Strand
Learn how to use a slow shutter speed, to capture the blur of moving water
18 September 2009 – “Paint with light” Workshop in Johannesburg
Learn how to take photographs using the ‘bulb’ setting on your camera,
while ‘painting’ interesting patterns using multi-coloured torches
26 September 2009 – “How to take better portrait photographs” in Stellenbosch
Learn the techniques needed for top portrait photographs
PHOTOGRAPHIC DAY TRIPS
Learn how to use your camera, and to take better photographs, on a photographic day trip in the Western Cape. Here are the most popular photographic outings:
TABLE MOUNTAIN & CITY
CAPE POINT & CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
CAPE WINE LANDS
MACRO or CLOSE-UP
WEST COAST FLOWERS
MOUNTAIN PASSES PANORAMIC TOUR
PORTRAIT AND PEOPLE TOWNSHIP EXPIERIANCE
SHIPWRECKS AND LIGHTHOUSES
BAD WEATHER AND RAINY DAYS
A MOMENT IN TIME…
This photograph of the Clock tower, in the Victoria Basin was taken by well known Cape Town photographer Arthur Elliott (1870-1938), probably not much later 1900. The quaint, pinnacled late Victorian clock tower, built in 1883, was the focal point of Cape Town’s harbour, and can still be seen today in the now V&A Waterfront. The photograph was taken with a quarter-plate camera, given to Arthur by a friend.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“Wisdom suggests that you seek the positive in every person and situation and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.”
Keep those cameras snapping, till next time.