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Creative Night Photography Techniques

Here are some night time photography ideas to have a go at with your Pentax.

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Stars in Clumber

'Stars in Clumber' by Peter Bargh 


Shooting at night can be a very rewarding photographic adventure. You'll need a tripod, as you'll inevitably be working with slower shutter speeds to get the required exposure, but with a bit of patience and creative ideas, there are some great subjects to be captured at night:

Light trails - For this technique there are a few different subjects to photograph, and one of the easiest ones is traffic on then roads at night. Safety is paramount here so make sure you scout out a suitable location that overlooks a busy road, or a road with lots of twists and turns, in the daytime. Perhaps consider arriving at your destination before night falls. You'll need to use bulb mode, or a shutter speed of at least 15-20 seconds, perhaps longer, to get the desired light trail effect. A remote cable might also be a good idea to avoid the vibration of you pressing the shutter causing issues. 

Light trails can also be created by people holding sparklers or lighters and moving them around. Some pretty light patterns can be made using this technique.

Stars - Star and star trail photography can look stunning, but you'll need to get off the beaten track and away from any light pollution caused by cities and towns to be able to capture a clear image. Contrary to what you might think, a wider angle lens might be better for star photography as it will allow you to capture a wider view of the sky. Telescope adaptors are available for Pentax cameras, to get you closer to the subject.

Moon - Photographing the moon is something that can be achieved with a telephoto lens. A tripod will still be essential, but you'll be able to use an exposure of about half a second as the moon is quite bright. Some lovely close ups of the moon's craters and scars can be achieved with a bit of manual focusing. 

Light painting - Light painting is a technique whereby a torch is shone onto dark parts of an image that you want to highlight. If the exposure is long enough, a person should be able to walk in front of the camera, shining the light on the necessary areas and not appear in the photo. It's a great technique to use indoor with still life subjects, too. 

Urban Skylines - The skylines of our cities can look quite impressive when they are lit up at night. A high viewpoint, or a viewpoint a little bit out of the city looking into it will be ideal to capture the scope of the scene, as well as a wide angle lens to fit all of the scene in. 
 

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