Taking night photos is always a challenge – can you get enough light to capture the scene? Will a flash help or will it ruin the effect you were trying to capture?
Here’s a photo I took of the trees outside my house one snowy night. There’s no streetlight on that side of the house, so the only light source for this photo came from my camera’s flash.
It’s not a bad photo – if you like snow-covered trees against a black background..
Here’s a second photo of the same trees – taken only minutes later. But this time I skipped the flash, and instead set my camera to a 15-second exposure. The long exposure let the camera capture so much light, that it almost looks like a daytime photo, instead of one taken in the middle of the night.
If I’d been using a tripod, rather than trying not to breathe or blink or move a muscle during those 15 seconds, this photo would have been truly spectacular. Instead, it’s blurred because… well, I must have breathed or something.
This last photo is one of my favorites, in spite of the slight blur. It was also taken in the middle of the night using a 15-second exposure, but the Russian Olive in this photo has a streetlight behind it which created this lovely, golden glow just beyond the snow-covered branches.
You don’t have to stay up until 2 a.m. to practice taking great night shots. Whatever time you take them – play with varying levels of light and exposure, and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun.