Sunday, February 26, 2012

Like Night and Day

     I love to take pictures!  But I'm not a photographer, at least not in the sense that I know what I'm doing when I take pictures.  I've always used a point-and-shoot camera and, until recently, NEVER adjusted the settings.  I would simply point.  And shoot.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.
This is the camera I use these days:

     Lately I've become obsessed much more interested in photography and what all the buttons and settings on my camera mean.  It's extremely satisfying to take a photo that has some thought and planning behind it and see successful results.  Gee, it's like photography's an art or something.  ;)
     Today's Photo-a-Day Challenge is "night."  I wanted to photograph the city lights of the Salt Lake Valley here where I live.  I see them all the time and their beauty and vastness never cease to amaze me.
     Since I wanted to be able to post my picture today, I planned ahead and went out Thursday night to capture my night photo.  I took my camera and tripod to a location that I pass everyday when I pick up my daughter from dance class.  It was night.  I had my camera and my tripod.  So I photographed what I saw and the results were NOT satisfying.  When I uploaded the photos to my computer, this is a sampling of what I saw:

Yuck.  Not exactly the beauty I wanted to capture.
     So, disappointed but not disheartened, I turned to the one resource I can almost always count on: Google.  There is so much information available about how to take photographs at night.  I weeded through the sources and got some very helpful tips that led to my expedition last night.  Armed with my camera and tripod I set out to test my newfound knowledge.  Here are my results:

     Much better.  I was amazed as I took the photos to see how much of the city lighting I could capture even though it wasn't completely dark.  And I LOVE the silhouette of the mountain range - those are the Oquirrh Mountains that line the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.
     The photos from Thursday night compared to the ones I took last night are as different as night and day, wouldn't you say?  For both photo shoots I had set my camera to the "night landscape" scene feature and I used my tripod.  The difference can be attributed to these two tips that I gleaned from my Google research:
1.  Use your camera's automatic timer to take the shot.  Even though you're using a tripod, the camera's shutter will be open for a few seconds and you need to make sure there's absolutely NO movement.  Using the timer ensures that you don't move the camera at all during the shot.  Then once the shutter clicks, wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  You want to be sure that the shutter has closed before you move the camera.
2.  Timing!  Take your night photos during late dusk, that period of time when the sun has set but there's still a bit of light in the sky.  That way you'll have less black areas on your photo.
     I hope that these tips are helpful to you as well.  Have a wonderful day, and thanks for stopping by.


  1. Oh how I wish I had read this earlier ... you sure achieved that photographic magic thing in last two images.
    Warmest regards,

  2. Wow! Such beautiful photos and great tips!! Thanks so much for sharing! LOVE your blog!!


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