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Night Photography

Reed Hoffmann's tips for great night photography

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A Basic Look at the Basics of Exposure

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is the basis of every…

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Tips for Photographing Mountains

Making the most of mountains in landscape photographs

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Taking Better Photographs of the American West

When you get a chance to visit the open prairies, and photograph ranchers…

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Mentor Series Worldwide Photo Treks

The Mentor Series Worldwide Photo Treks provide an incredible hands-on learning…

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Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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Making Pictures in the Rain

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there aren't great pictures waiting to be made.

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Take a New Look at an Everyday Object

Robin Layton discusses opening your eyes to looking at subjects differently

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4.3 Rating
How to Photograph Lightning

Storm chaser Jim Reed offers valuable tips for making photos of lighning while staying safe.

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Group Effort: Growing Your Skills in a Camera Club

Benefits of joining a camera club

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Exposure Compensation When Using i-TTL Gets Easier with the D4/D4s

Exposure compensation and flash compensation can be…

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3D Color Matrix Metering II

This system of evaluating light determines the best possible exposure for a particular…

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Exposure Choices for Moody Images

Moose Peterson explains how exposure can add to the mood of an image

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ISO Control

For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. The ISO setting is one of…

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Using Variable Neutral Density Filters to Adjust Exposure in DSLR Video

Adjusting exposure with Variable ND filters

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Basics of Exposure and Camera Controls

Ideal class for those who want to go beyond point & shoot photography

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Using the Histogram to Check Exposure

Checking video exposure with the histogram

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Exposure Bracketing: The Creative Insurance Policy

Get creative with your photography by using this age-old technique.

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4.6 Rating
Outside Shots: Go Long

Tony Sweet on revealing the invisible in images

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How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

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Learning How to Use Your Camera's Histogram

The histogram is a useful tool that analyzes tonal range and helps in…

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How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse

Learn the techniques needed to shoot lunar eclipses from Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak

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Image Overlay: Combining Images Together In-Camera

Image Overlay lets you combine multiple images together in-camera

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Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

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One Shot: Catch the Wind

Deborah Sandidge on easy D500 multiple exposures

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4.6 Rating
The Challenge of Bird Photography

Moose Peterson tells why photographing birds in the field is well worth the challenge.

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4.3 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky: Star Trails

Astrophotography: tips for making great star trail images

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Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

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Balancing Photo Exposures with Nikon's Active D-Lighting

Bring light to the shadows with Nikon's Active D-Lighting

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Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

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Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

Tips for photographing the fish and creatures that live under water

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Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

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Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

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When to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters

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Partner Up for Better Pictures

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Bokeh for Beginners

Have your subjects stand apart from the background with this easy technique

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COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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HDSLR Video Tutorial: Getting Started with Your D-Movie Camera

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What Do You Look for in a Wedding Photographer?

Tips on what to look for when choosing a wedding photographer

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Action and People Photography

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Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

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High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

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Lighting Techniques: Light Painting

Using the technique of light painting allows you to add depth and dimension to your…

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Moose Peterson: How to Photograph Winter Landscapes

Exposing so the Snow’s White and Six Other Tips for Great Winter…

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Six Steps to Lighting Magic with Joe McNally

Follow lighting expert Joe McNally's instructions for easy flash photography…

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New Directions: The D750 Inspires Creating, and Sharing, New Images

Lindsay Silverman shoots with the D750 DSLR

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Night Photography

How to Capture the Magic and Mystery

But before how, let's talk about why.

Why take night photos? While they're not difficult, they can be a challenge. Photography by definition is writing with light, and at night...well, you get the picture.

When we spoke to pro shooter, Nikon School instructor and night photography enthusiast/advocate Reed Hoffmann, we asked him to share some tips for best results, but we first asked him, "Why night photography? What's the big fascination?"

"Partly for the challenge," he says, "but also because not many people do it. Everybody shoots pictures during the day; it gets dark and they stop, or they turn on their flash units." And when you're taking pictures that most people don't take, your photos might be a bit more interesting, dramatic, even mysterious attention-getting images. "Night photography is not a question of getting a picture in low light," Reed adds. "In night photography you're trying to do something special."

Reed's final comment on the "why" of night photography involves the very nature of photography itself. "We teach in our [Nikon School] programs that one thing you want to do in your photography is play to the strengths of how cameras see the world in ways that are different from how humans see it. Pick up a camera at night and because you can do long exposures, you'll see the world in a way you never see it other than in pictures."

And now, how.


First, a Tripod

When there's only a little light, you call on every method possible to make the most of it, and using a tripod is first on the possible list. "You're almost always going to need a tripod," Reed says, "especially for creating selective blur with slow shutter speeds—like moving lights writing their magic lines and shapes." And even with a tripod, to prevent even the slight vibration his finger on the shutter release might cause, Reed often uses the camera's self-timer or a cable release to trip the shutter. "And," he adds, "when you're using a tripod, make sure the VR function of your lens is turned off."


ISO Boost

No tripod available? Then take advantage of the fact that most Nikon D-SLRs will allow us, in Reed's words, "to shoot at ridiculously high ISOs and get very good-looking pictures...even astounding results. Boosting ISO is a valid way to go." (An ISO-related tip for scenes involving the night sky: setting shorter exposures at higher ISOs will prevent star trails in the photo.)


Long Exposures

if you're going to pursue night photography, sooner or later you're going to want to do tripod-mounted long exposures, if only to see what they'll look like. Slow shutter speeds will let in more light, but they'll do more than that: as the shutter speed slows and the exposure lengthens, the magic happens as you capture what the eye can't see.


Autofocus Control

Reed recommends turning off autofocus once focus is achieved. "Once you've got foc