Taking Dusky And Night Time Images

Here are a few tips for taking dusk/ night time images with your Nikon gear.

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 Image by David Clapp

As the sun's still setting early, now's a great time to shoot night or dusk themed images so here are some tips on capturing exactly that with your Nikon kit. 

Settings - For dusk and night time photography, longer shutter speeds will be needed. This will involve setting a large aperture to let as much light in as possible, and a relatively long shutter speed depending on how dark it is. If it's pitch black, you'll want a shutter speed of 10-30 seconds depending on what you're shooting. If it's still a little dusky, you'll most likely be able to reduce this. It's worth using shutter speed priority or manual mode for this type of shooting. Most Nikon cameras now have a night portrait mode, optimising the camera for taking portraits in low light. 

Tripod - Because you'll be working with relatively slow shutter speeds, a tripod might be necessary, especially if your exposure lasts any more than a second. It's also worth considering using a remote trigger of the self timer mode, to avoid causing shake when you press the shutter. 

VR - Vibration reduction can be a useful feature for dusk photography handheld, as it will help reduce shake from your movements. If you're using a tripod however, make sure you turn VR off, as the tripod will do the stabilising for you.

Subject - Dusk and night are great times for shooting star photography, experimenting with light painting, or shooting traffic light trails. You can do some scouting in the day to find a secluded place away from light pollution for star photography, and pick a spot near to a windy road for some interesting traffic light trails. 

Safety - Because it will be dark, take extra care when setting up, and make sure you wrap up warm. Take a torch if you're going off the beaten track and either take someone with you, or tell someone where you're going and what time you plan to be back. It might be worth reaching the destination while it's still light, setting up and taking photos as night falls. 


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