Landscapes at Night


Make the Most of Streetlight

The obvious challenge of shooting at night is the lack of light. At such times, streetlight can be of great assistance. It provides a decent amount of illumination to help you capture your subjects. However, it is often restricted to only a small part of the overall scene. So, move in closer to those subjects that are lit by a streetlamp.

If you point your camera at streetlights directly, you will realise that these bright and powerful lamps illuminate the wires and tree leaves around them quite nicely. They stand out clearly against the dark night sky. This contrast lets you capture interesting patterns and lines.

Scout for locations that will allow you to capture the grids formed by the lights of a city at night. Photograph/Chandan DSouza

Take the Help of Flash

Using an external flashgun to get details can be a great way to get unique nightscapes. Set a long exposure of a minute or more and start firing the flashgun. You can set up multiple flashguns at different places around a structure and trigger them all at once. You can even simply use a single flashgun and fire it multiple times. Try to point the flashgun in different directions and cover as much area as possible. If you do not have a flashgun, you can always use a torch to illuminate your night landscape.

Quick Tip: When using the onboard flash, set the Flash Exposure Compensation to -1 to avoid flat images.

Shot at 6:45pm, this beautiful moonrise is an example of how you can begin shooting night landscapes even when the sky is light. Photograph/Rodolfo Belloli

Get the Focus Right

Ensuring sharp focus for night landscapes can be quite a difficult task. Unless you have an interesting foreground, which you wish to highlight, set the focus to infinity.

You can even take help of the Live View feature of your camera to ensure that everything is in focus before you release the shutter. Choosing an aperture of f/9 or f/11 will help you to make sure that the scene is rendered perfectly sharp.

Streetlight has helped capture falling snow, which would otherwise not have been possible at night. Photograph/Milan Jurek

Soak in the Magic of the Sky

The most beautiful part of the night is when the stars come alive in the sky. Including them in the frame can enliven a dull landscape.

Plan your shoot on a day you will get a clear, moonless sky. Avoid places with light pollution so as to ensure that the stars are clearly visible in your photo. You can make very long exposures using the Bulb mode or even stack exposures to capture star trails.