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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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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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How to Photograph Lightning

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

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Personal Project: The Art and Craft of Photographing Birds

Mike Corrado's personal project photographing birds

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Group Effort: Growing Your Skills in a Camera Club

Benefits of joining a camera club

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Writing with Light as Exposures

Bill Frakes on exposure

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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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Using the Histogram to Check Exposure

Checking video exposure with the histogram

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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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Exposure Bracketing: The Creative Insurance Policy

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

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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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The Challenge of Bird Photography

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

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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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Awesome Skies: Tips and Techniques for Photographing the Northern Lights

Learn how to photograph the Northern Lights or…

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Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

Photographing Nebulae and other celestial objects with…

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Take It to the Limit: Pushing the D500 Envelope

D500 in action with Nikon's own Lindsay Silverman and Mark Soares

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Flash Points: The Control of Light

Color temperature, rear sync, slow sync: Three key elements in flash photography.

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Reflex Action: A Surf Photographer's Top Tips

Surf shooter Jay Watson offers tips for getting great surfing action photos

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Taking Pictures of Fireworks

Learn how to get great fireworks shots this summer.

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Wedding Days: The Fine Art of Brides, Grooms, Light and Location

Sam Sciarrino on photographing brides and grooms

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Shooting Spectacular Sunrises and Sunsets

Jim Harmer’s tips for photographing at dawn and dusk

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One Shot: After Image

Jack Dyking on seeing in color and thinking in B&W

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How To Grow Your Garden Photography Skills

Taking great photographs of your own garden is easy with a few simple tips

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Speedlight Tutorial: Bounce Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights wirelessly for pleasing portrait illumination

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Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

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One Shot: Are We There Yet?

Gary Crabbe shoots The Subway in Zion National Park

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3.2 Rating
Scene Auto Selector

A COOLPIX feature that recognizes the type of scene or setting and automatically selects the…

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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.)