Monday, February 21, 2011

How to capture a dramatic night scene including streaks of light from passing cars...

Twilight is a wonderful time to take pictures. The sky becomes an extraordinary shade of blue, and the light is balanced throughout the scene. Even in rainy conditions as shown above, twilight complements cityscapes and landscapes. This can be one of the best times to record taillights from passing cars as red streaks, creating a dramatic photograph. Twilight lasts for a very short time and the blue sky will fade to black, which can offer creative options as well. Want to capture passing cars with streaks of color? Try these tips...

  • Use a tripod, cable release or your camera's self timer
  • Choose a low ISO, and use a small aperture for good depth of field 
  • Timing, wait until just before a car enters the scene to release the shutter
  • The longer the shutter is open, the more streaks that can be captured (more cars, longer streaks)

This photo was taken at  ISO 100, f/11 for about 8 seconds. This is just a generalization, as your exposure will vary depending on quickly or slowly cars are moving through your composition. If the shutter speed is too short, the taillight streaks will end abruptly in the photo. Increase the exposure time as needed to record longer, and more streaks. This is a fun technique and the results can add a lot of color and impact to your photograph! Make great pictures! ~ Deb

PS -My nighttime workshops are sold out in St. Augustine for Florida's Birding and Photo Fest, however I'll cover cool nighttime techniques during my Creative seminar.  I hope to see you there!