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Night shots are not best taken at night, but at twilight, usually around 15-25 minutes after sunset is ideal, slightly later (upto 50 minutes) if you are shooting towards where the sun has set.
There is more ambient light around and you basically will achieve more detail in your shadows. The sky will appear as a very deep blue (very attractive indeed) and far more appealing than ink black. If it's been a decent sunset, you'll also have reds and oranges in your sky too.
When it's completely dark, you do suffer with highlights burning out and it's not great and can only be rescued with HD.
Of course I don't need to tell you that a sturdy tripod (or good support) is essential, and stick to ISO 100 with an aperture of around F8 (for most images).
Check out some of my twilight photos and let me know what you think.
The Twilight Zone
I hope this helps anyway.
I had no choice in when to take the photograph as I was on a coach trip in Iceland chasing the northern lights and we had just stopped in a remote location at about 11pm, and after shooting the northern lights I turned around to walk back to the coach and saw this church nearby so I took a photo of it not really expecting much but it turned out better than I thought.
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