"My BEST Advice for Nighttime – Low-Light Photography"
"Anson Road at Nighttime, Edit B" 10 Dec 2011 Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur
MOTIVATION: Sometimes, I study the search terms that people use to get to my blog, "Behind the Lens," and then I attempt to write something useful to help out people who are searching for specific bits of advice. In this particular case, someone had searched for "how to photograph at night". Thus, I will mention my BEST advice for nighttime / low-light photography: My advice to anyone wanting to photograph in near dark conditions, with only nighttime lighting (e.g. street lights, vehicle lights, etc.), is to use a tripod. Nothing will mess with you more than unintentional movement of the camera during long exposures. By ‘long exposures,’ I mean any shutter speed that is more than 1/15th second. Maybe I’m not the steadiest shooter in the world, but I know that my heartbeat will certainly move the camera as blood pumps through my arms and hands. Any movement during extended shutter times will create nice blurry photos. A good, heavy, sturdy tripod will help create a steady platform for your camera. So there you have it – Use a tripod is my BEST advice for nighttime and low-light photography. My second best advice is experiment a lot. My third best advice is shoot a lot. My fourth best advice is try NOT to get hit by cars when taking photographs of traffic at nighttime. I tend to set up shop in the street which has its own hazards.
Motivations: During a two hour wait, for which the reasons are not that important, I wanted to see what I might find to photograph. This is a location very near Queensbay. It was nearing mid-morning, so the ‘best light’ was fading and burning away. I was going for a stereotypical postcard style scene…or something like that. I actually waited for the two crows to fly into the scene. The crows here in Penang are very aggressive. If you wear sunglasses, be careful, as the crows are known to dive bomb your face attempting to steal your glasses. In the background (way back there) is the Penang Bridge: The bridge opened in 1985, and it spans over the water 8.4 miles (13.5km).
Currently, Penang Bridge handles 65,000 vehicles daily and has a capacity of handling 85,000 vehicles daily. It has been expanded from 4 lanes to 6 lanes to accommodate increasing traffic on the bridge. (source: wikipedia)
For anyone who has been stuck on the bridge during rush, I mean, crawl-hours, you would believe that 100,000 vehicles are going over the bridge daily.
Well, far away from the bustling traffic of the Penang Bridge is this mid-morning, tranquil, beach scene.
6 Dec 2011 Nighttime long-exposure photograph. Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur
Motivations: I was outside already shooting the nighttime sky, and my assistants were ‘busy’ helping out, as you can see. So, I thought I would capture about 30-seconds of their busy-ness. The bright rectangular items in the photo are cell phone screens.