Night-Time, Long-Exposure Photography

So whether you are in a dark, dance-hall or camping under the stars, night-time photography can provide some of the most unique shots where the world is seen in only a way captured by a camera and its photographer.  A nighttime shot done right rarely disappoints those wishing to have their minds captivated visually.  

This shot was taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV and a 15-30 Tamron F2.8 VC lens.  The settings were 100 ISO, 20 Seconds, and F19.  This shot may have been cooler if my wife and I were there 40 minutes earlier to catch the late dark blue sky, but I actually like how the black background contrasts so heavily with the other colors in the scene.  This photo does not lack color by any means!!  The Branson, MO Ferris Wheel has been a great addition to fun activities tourists now enjoy every summer.  My sweet wife was gracious enough to go out with me on a mini-photo-date.  

Taking this type of shot requires a little bit of trial and error.  The timing of the cars is important.  You don't want to go so late where there are no cars.  You probably don't want cars sitting still in HWY 76 traffic either, which is a common occurrence here.  The cars going both directions is important because getting the red tail-lights adds a pop of color while the head-lights add drama and excitement to the photo.  The Ferris wheel is about as predictable as a two-year-old who needs a nap.  The light-show changes all the time and how the camera captures those 10-20 seconds is hard to know.  I like when the lights are not super bright because if the show is going off big-time then you end up with a disc of pure light.  Make sure you have a good tripod and your camera is very secure.  Wind blowing the camera can ruin the sharpness of this photo.  Thankfully, we have a great tripod and there was little wind for this shot, making it razor sharp.  I always use the 2-second delay, which will prevent the shot from having any shake as you push down the shutter button.  The high aperture number is what makes the street lights have that star effect.  I recommend 13-19 as your f-stop if you want to make the lights appear as stars.  A low ISO will also make for a very clean, professional quality photo.  You can bump up the ISO and play with the settings some to get a look you like.  The Canon 5D Mark IV's 30MP sensor will definitely do the job in getting plenty of detail for this shot.  Any modern DSLR will take this shot successfully when done well.  

Besides that, I think you will just need to go out and shoot.  Remember to try and get some foreground subjects in your landscape shots.  A person, a boat, some driftwood, a grand-mother smoking a cuban, or hold up some weeds in front of the lens.  Just do something to make it more interesting.  I chose the car-lights to make this more than an ordinary Ferris Wheel shot.  Let me know what you think.  Contact me if you need a photographer here in Branson or anywhere else in the world if it is worth my travel.  Cheers!!! 

FerrisWheelatNight