Learning Activity – Shooting in Low Light Conditions.

Learning Activities

Written Assignment.
Describe the steps that you will take to ensure that you take a high quality photograph in low light conditions. Refer to exposure, lenses, tripods, colour temperature, flash and ISO.

First things first is getting your gear together, preferably have it ready already. Personally i have a small backpack that has space for two lenses (one of them are usually mounted on the camera), my camera house and some extra pockets for an extra battery and a remote for your DSLR.I also have a small tripod with “Gorilla” legs. This means i can mount it with my camera almost anywhere like lampposts, a fence or even a tree.I also have a regular tripod that i bring along for landscape or night photography.

When i go out shooting i have my gear ready, i just grap my backpack and some warm clothing. Good preparation helps alot with getting out the door as well as with the photo shoot.

Usually i have a location in mind when i go out shooting. Often times the main thing on my mind when i set up is light pollution. For instance i  usually shoot the sky with northern lights or  find a composition with stars  i like, a composition with either some mountains or a lake that ads to the composition. Light pollution is therefore important to keep in mind if you want a long exposure. If there’s a city in the distance, the city lights will flood the sky. This can of course also be a good thing and make for an interesting image. But its good to be aware of this for long exposures.

I usually like to have a low ISO setting, somewhere between 100 and 400, then i set the shutter speed between 20 – 30 seconds.I don’t mind using a long shutter speed and a low ISO to get a image with as little artifacts as possible. I also use  a dark or rather high to midrange aperture.

After taking a test image i then adjust my settings depending on how my first image looked.I almost always used the manual setting on my camera so i am familiar with tweaking my settings manually, even in the dark.

The camera is of course mounted on a tripod for landscape shooting and long exposures. I also use either a remote to minimize camera shake or a timer if I don’t have the remote with me. I have not tried locking the mirror in my camera yet but i will make it a point to experiment with this in the future, until now locking the mirror in my DSLR has seemed a little scary when i was starting out with photography.

If am shooting people or indoors however i go the opposite way, i set the ISO somewhere between 400 – 800 and try to keep the shutter speed below a second, prefferably as fast as possible the keep the images from blurring, therefore the higher ISO. The aperture is as open as possible with the lens i am using so i get the fastest shutter speed possible without loosing too much light.With my camera I don’t tend to get any artifacts from a higher ISO but i still don’t go to 1600 ISO unless absolutely necessary to capture the image.

When shooting in low light conditions be careful as many tripods and cameras have fallen over and broken due to accidents in low light conditions. Accidents do however happen. In my case as a Nikon user, they provide warranties and service practices for the equipment of customers. Canon and other companies also offer similar services but as i am a Nikon user i will focus on them.

You can learn more about the warranties and how to troubleshoot your equipment on the repair center webpage. Here you can learn about how to contact Nikon, send in your equipment and figure what is needed in your particular case. Another service offered on the repair center is the ability to track your equipment as it is repaired by a Nikon certified service store.

At the very least, it is good to read alittle about your rights as a consumer when procuring a Nikon product.

Nikon Repair Centre.

Practical Assignment.
Take some low-light photographs.
One should be a sharp photograph that focuses on a static object, like a building or statue.

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The second photograph should showcase moving objects, like cars or running water.

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For the third photograph, take a moody portrait of a friend and use high ISO settings to your advantage.

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Thank you for reading.

-J.

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