Digital Night Photography Article Collection

Dia-Log Truck -- by Joe Reifer

Dia-Log Truck — by Joe Reifer

The exposure time for the image above was 9 minutes at f/8 — shooting 4 nights before the full moon required an extra stop of exposure that was gained by using ISO 200 instead of the more typical full moon exposure of 6-8 minutes at f/8, ISO 100. Two RAW conversions of the same file were combined for the final image — one at 4500K for a neutral to warm foreground, and a second version using a virtual copy in Lightroom at 3450K for a cooler, deeper blue sky. The warm and cool conversions were combined in Photoshop using Layer Masks.

Troy Paiva and I cover a lot of ground during the afternoon sessions of our night photography field workshop. Some of the most popular topics and most asked questions have been addressed on this blog — below is a list of a 11 articles of interest to night photographers:

  1. Processing Night Photography Shot Under Mixed Lighting — getting your color balance right is an important part of post-processing night photographs. Here’s an example of how I adjusted a RAW file in Lightroom using the HSL panel.
  2. Lightroom Tone Curves — sometimes the Fill Light or Shadow/Highlight tools are not enough. Lightroom Tone Curves are a quick and powerful tool for adjusting the amount of shadow detail in your night photos.
  3. Calculating Exposure & Full Moon Schedule — when does the moon rise relative to the sunset, and how much light do you need for night photography?
  4. Night photography: Digital and/or film — shooting with two camera setups for increased productivity and longer star trails. Using film results as a guideline for post-processing your digital night photographs.
  5. Color temperature, and light painting for dimensionality — understanding how to utilize the blend of color temperature in your camera, and the color temperature of your light source. Using oblique angles to create a more 3D look when light painting.
  6. Night Photography Lexicon: Part I, Part II, Part III — photographic influences, and abandoned places night photography’s (APNP) place in the realm of conceptual art.
  7. Digital night photography: Sky color secrets — post-processing tips for punchier, deeper blue skies.
  8. Digital night photography: Exposure balance – how to read your histogram for night photography (aka “Expose to the Middle”).
  9. Flashlight: Everybody‚Äôs got a little light under the moon — one of the most asked questions about light painting is “what kind of flashlight should I buy?”
  10. Canon 5D wide angle night photography — using the Olympus Zuiko 21mm lens on a Canon digital SLR for night photography because it’s small, sharp, and easy to focus at night. Contains useful information about focus scale calibration.
  11. 18mm prime: Finding compositions in the dark — follow the moonlight to find your compositions, keep the ISO low, and use test shots to assess your framing and exposure.

New Article Update: Night photography post-processing: A Warm Car on a Cool Night

6 thoughts on “Digital Night Photography Article Collection”

  1. Joe, great post. I like the shrub in the shot that looks like a poof of smoke from that (fake?) smokestack/exhaust. I look forward to reading the links you posted that I haven’t already read.

  2. TJ – the 5D Mark II works quite well for night photography. More info on this soon.

    Tim – glad the articles are useful!

    Cliff – thanks! It was pretty windy out there and the angle of the tree movement worked out well.

  3. Thanx for the tips/links, Joe. I’ve bookmarked this page. Sometime I need to get out and try some night photography…

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