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Twilight Photography Tips

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Category: Landscape and Travel

Basic Twilight Shooting Tips - Don't pack your gear up once you've captured your sunset as twilight can be just as rewarding.

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As the sun is still setting at a reasonably early hour at this time of year, make the most of it and have a go at twilight photography.

Porth Nanven
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

To capture your twilight imagery you need to be set up and ready for when the sun starts setting, that way you'll be able to start taking your shots just as the sun falls below the horizon and continue until it goes dark. You'll notice that the colours in the sky will change from bright, sunset shades, through to a deep blue before turning black and it's that middle part where the sky takes on the dark blue shade that you want to try and shoot. Annoyingly, it can be the hardest part of twilight to capture images of but when you do, it does produce cracking shots.

A camera that performs well in low light, such as the D800, will help but really any DSLR will be fine. You'll also need a tripod as exposure lengths will be long and working tripod-free will just result in shake spoiling your shots. You may also find a remote / cable release handy, plus pack a Grad ND filter if you're planning on capturing a few shots at the start when they can be appear to be brighter than the land / subject in front of your lens. Pack a zoom lens to give you plenty of shooting options and a torch / head torch should have a place in your bag to help your return journey when it'll be dark. Don't forget to wrap up warm, too, as temperatures still drop quite low at this time of year.

Preparation is key so make sure you arrive early to give you chance to set up, play around with focal lengths, apertures etc. Having previous knowledge of a fitting location where there's good foreground interest can help so make a note of locations you're think are suitable for twilight photography when you see them.

Try to stick to lower ISOs, although many cameras, such as the Nikon D800, have a phenomenally high ISO range nowadays and can perform well at the higher end. However, when you're using lengthened shutter speeds, you shouldn't need to use higher ISOs.

When it comes to apertures, as you'll most-likely be shooting a land or cityscape try f/8 and work from there to ensure you have good depth-of-field.

As the sun dips below the horizon keep taking photos, adjusting the exposure length as you do to capture as many different results as possible. You'll probably have to work faster than you expected as the light will change quickly.


For more information on the Nikon camera range, including the D800, D610, D7100, COOLPIX A and Nikon 1 AW1, visit the Nikon website. 

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