Photographing The City Of Moscow At Night
Travel and photography represent a perfect marriage for many creative souls. While travel is, arguably, the best way to learn about the world and how folks live outside of your everyday experience, photography allows us to record a lasting visual documentation of our journey.
But, just as the night offers the traveller a new range of experiences, a whole new world seems to come into existence for the photographer once the sun goes down.
Do You Need A Tripod For Night Photography?
While all the photos in this post were made with the aid of a tripod, you can certainly embark on a night photograph adventure without one. However, you’d need to take into account the following:
Choose scenes with reasonable amounts of illumination
Try to compose your photos around well illuminated scenes. Not only will your photos be more interesting, but the more light there is the faster your camera's shutter speed will become. And the faster the shutter speed the less chance there is of movement occurring.
Change Your Camera's ISO To Avoid Blur
It's important to understand that, when using Exposure Modes (e.g., AV/A, TV/S, P) other than Manual Exposure, every time you double your ISO your Shutter Speed will automatically double.
That's important because the more quickly the image is exposed the less chance there is of blur occurring as a consequence of either subject movement or camera shake.
Beware Of High Contrast Scenes
You may notice how quickly shadows blend into black when photographing cityscapes at night. Again, make sure the most important parts of the scene are well illuminated and allow the darkest areas to go into deep shadow or black.
That loss of information in the darker areas of the image can help accentuate shapes and also add a sense of mystery to your photo.
What's Best A Zoom or Fixed Lens?
A fast, fixed lens can be an advantage for night photography. Assuming, that is, you’re employing it’s physically widest apertures (e.g., f1.8 or f2). The compromise is that, as it’s a fixed lens, the advantage of a zoom lens (many focal lengths within the one lens) are lost to you.
Photography is a Physical Endeavor
However, the loss of the ability to zoom forces the photographer to move to arrive at a good composition. And, once you start moving forwards or backwards, you’re only one step away from moving left and right, or up and down.
As a result neurons in your brain start to fire and the whole process of making a picture becomes more interesting as you begin to explore different viewpoints, angles of light, etc.
The photo at the top of this post was made in Moscow. I’m standing on a bridge photographing along the Moskva River towards the Kremlin.