Photography during night or in low light conditions

Today I was talking to one of my friends who has just bought an SLR and wanted to discuss few of the difficulties faced during recent trip. The first question was about clicking photographs with blurred background and other was clicking photographs in night. We had good time talking about some of the common challenges we face in learning phase. So here I thought of sharing few of the challenges of Night Photography and appropriate solution. 

Conversation started with a very simple statement that she was not able to capture the scene which she was seeing with her eyes. And that's the basic difference between the way our eyes look at things and cameras work. The difference becomes prominent during night. The trickiest part is to understand this difference.

My friend was using Aperture Mode to click night views around lake Pichaula in Udaipur, but photographs were not coming right. Without going into details, here is the first need for night photography - Tripod. If you simply put your camera on tripod and try to click night view in Aperture, it should work fine now. Although results would depend upon metering mode selected in your camera. Just ignore, if you don't understand what metering mode is and how many metering modes are available in DSLR. 

So here are few thing I suggest to start with. Put your camera on tripod and put it on the mode you are comfortable with - Aperture, Shutter Speed etc. Take your first shot at Aperture you choose (A mode). See if you are getting right lighting? If not, use exposure compensation in your camera to get right amount of light in your photograph. Are you happy? What is next problem you see. Is everything sharp? If not, try to increase f value and see if it changes something. 

Did I tell you that ISO is another friend to have better shutter speed at desired aperture value you choose? Just experiment by increasing ISO on your camera and see if it's helping in any way. 

I know this article is not very helpful for someone who is not aware of camera controls and their functions. So first thing to suggest is read the camera manual and then try things explained here. Let me also share that Night Photography is very addictive :)

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