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Photography At Twilight in Towns

Hang around for when the sunset has finished and you'll get some cracking shots.

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Liverpool Germany
Photos by David Clapp.

Everyone likes a sunset but instead of packing your gear up once the sun's set wait around for when the sun has vanished below the horizon and you'll have the chance to capture some really creative images.

As there won't be much light a tripod's essential you may also find a remote release handy to help prevent camera shake. A torch or even better a head torch should have a place in your bag and wrap up warm as it can get rather cold after the heat of the sun's gone for the day. Various focal lengths can work so pack a zoom lens to give you plenty of shooting options. A camera that works well at higher ISO levels, such as the Canon EOS 70D, would also be handy. 

Get to your chosen vantage point at least twenty minutes before the sun sets to give you chance to set your equipment up and decide on what angle you want to work with. If you have a remote release get your camera on your tripod and hook it up as it can really help when working with longer shutter speeds then while there's still some light in the sky, try taking a few test shots to see if your framing etc. works. Focus up then once you're happy with the shot, turn autofocus off as it will struggle when there's less light in the sky. Try to stick to ISO100 but if you don't want to use particularly long shutter speeds you can use a higher ISO. Just watch out for noise as the dots and grain can spoil your image. Make sure your white balance is OK, although if you're working in RAW it can be altered later on, then you just have to wait for the sun to go down so you can start taking your photos.

Once the sun's gone below the horizon keep taking photos, playing with different exposure lengths as you do to capture as many varied results as possible. The moon can add interest to your image but as it's bright it can fool your camera's exposure and light sources such as street lights can end up looking glaringly bright when using long exposures but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Getting in among the streets will give you plenty of opportunities to shoot some city-themed twilight shots. Do remember it gets harder to see detail when the ambient light begins to fade so you may have to look for ways you can use artificial lighting to add to your shot. Try sitting at one end of a bridge where you can get the deep blue sky as well as street lights and light trails from cars in shot or try shooting a few of the many neon signs that decorate our city streets well after the sun has set.


Canon EOS 70D - Capture the moment at seven frames per second. Click here for more information on the high performance EOS 70D, featuring 7fps full resolution shooting, an advanced 19-point AF system and Canon’s unique Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology.

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