We went to the Orange County Fair Sunday night and I had my sights set on photographing the rides at twilight. Getting the new crescent moon in my shot was a definite bonus.
I love shooting lights at night because it takes a bit of skill. You can't rely on your camera's metering because a large amount of dark sky will cause you to blow out (over expose) the lights, especially the moon, and that doesn't look good at all. Three key things to taking great images of lights at night:
- Shoot at twilight when there is still some light in the sky.
- Using a tungsten light balance will make your sky a deep blue. If you shoot in RAW and use auto white balance you can always adjust your color temperature in post with Photoshop.
- Meter for the highlights. Have the 'blinkies' set on your image preview to show any blown highlights and keep dialing down your exposure until you have no blown highlights.
In this case I wanted a shutter speed low enough to give me some motion blur so it was a matter of finding the right shutter speed/aperature combination. With some of the riders closer to me than others I was able to show some motion while freezing the riders at the far right.