In the Dark

In my neck of the woods sunset is at 7:12 p.m. For now anyway.

Whereas I don’t enjoy losing an hour of sleep when we spring ahead, there is something to be said about the extra hour of sunlight in the evening.

The later sunset, coupled with the record-breaking high temperatures we’ve been blessed with the past couple of weeks have made it look and feel a lot like summer in the middle of March.

Our neighborhood sure looks like summer. Kids are running around in shorts, parents are out sprucing up their yards and I’ve finally been able to start taking pictures at dusk again.

Sunrise and sunset usher in the “golden hours” in the world of photography. It’s the time of day which features the most exquisite natural lighting. Of course, those hours are fleeting and once the sun dips below the horizon you have to make adjustments accordingly if you still want to snap decent shots in the great outdoors.

My camera is particularly fickle when it comes to lighting, which is why I carry a mini tripod if I know I will be taking photos after the sun goes down. It is rare that a human can hold a camera steady enough in the dark in order to avoid fuzzy photos. Having a tripod allows you to place your camera on a solid surface whereby you don’t have to worry about shaking or rocking.

When taking pictures in low light situations, it also pays to switch to manual mode. To ensure that you get the best night shot possible, place your camera to manual mode once it is connected to the tripod. Also, remember to place the ISO to 400, open your aperture wider than you would during day shoots, and use a long exposure–longer than 10 seconds. Finally, I would resist using your LCD to frame night shots and instead employ the viewfinder.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.