Happy New Year! I love the holidays but it’s always nice to get back to work and start a new year. Last week I came down with a pretty nasty cold and by the end of the week was feeling pretty stir crazy from lounging around trying to get better and need to get out and shoot something. I thought it would be nice to get a cool shot of Mt. Olympus at night so at 9pm set out to see what I could find. I drove for a bit to try and find a spot that I could get up on the foothills around Parleys Canyon. I figured that would be a good area to find a nice shot. I parked, put on some gaiters and headed up the mountain. I ended up finding a trail that met up the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and found a good spot that would work to get the shot.
I love shooting at night. When I was in college I shot a lot of my assignments and projects at night. I think I like shooting landscapes and cityscapes at night at night because it is a nice change from my normal assignments from work. Here are a few tips for getting shots at night.
-Invest in a nice lightweight carbon tripod with a solid ball head. They are more expensive that aluminum tripods but when you are hiking around they are the way to go. Still stable but much lighter. I prefer ball heads they give you lots of options while shooting.
-Use a shutter release cable. I use my intervalometer. It has a shutter release built into it as most do. On almost DSLR cameras there is a max shutter of 30 sec. if you need to shoot longer than that you must put your camera on Bulb and use a shutter release cable to control the length of time the shutter is open.
-Use a sand bag or some rocks to hang on the bottom of the tripod. Adding some additional weight will keep you camera stable. The last thing you want is for your camera to move while getting your shot
-Use a lower ISO. You will have a tenancy to want to increase your ISO do decrease your exposure time but this will create more noise in your shot.
-Plan on taking some time. Night shots take much more time to take than shooting during the day. Depending on the available light for your shot, it will take at least 3-5 min per shot and sometimes longer. That is just for the exposure. After your camera is done taking the shot, it takes about the same amount of time to render longer exposure noise reduction to the image. When I went out last week for this shot I ended up taking 8-10 shots and it took me an hour and half by the time and drove, hiked, found a spot, shot and came back down. That’s pretty fast I thought.
-Dress warm, especially this time of year. With a little wind and the cold on top of the fact that once you start shooting your not moving around much. Remember to dress in lots of layers.
Shooting at night is a lot of trial and error. A light meter isn’t much help in these situations. Finding the right focus and be tricky and being mindful of how motion will play into your shot are all challenges of getting the right exposure and shot while shooting at night. I love it and think it is really fun to and experiment with.
The image above is the shot I got last weekend. I’m pretty happy with it. Thanks for checking it out! I shot it at f/11 for about a min. and a half with an ISO of 100. Happy shooting!