Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 • Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/60 sec
Night photography is one of the more difficult techniques to learn. This picture of Vienna’s town hall (the Rathaus) came after several blurry or underexposed attempts I threw out. Mostly that is because you need light to take photographs, and at night, it can be hard to come by! Here are some simple tricks to help get you started, so you don’t have to be afraid of the dark.
Know the weather forecast, sun and moon rise & set times, and any other factors (such as light pollution from cities) that can affect your photos and plan accordingly.
Know this: flash is evil and it won’t help you in this setting. Turn it off.
The key to night photos is long exposures, so learn how to adjust your shutter speed down or use a bulb (some pictures take 1/2 sec up to an hour or two). You will also need a higher aperture (11+) to keep your depth of field sharp as well as a higher ISO setting to let more light in (here’s an explanation of some of these settings). When in doubt, bracket your photos (most DSLRs will take 3 photos with different exposures in a range, so you can pick your favorite or combine them later). And yes, I know I broke these rules in this week’s photo. But hey, sometimes you just get lucky!
Next, DON’T MOVE! Or at least, don’t allow your camera to move. Use a tripod, and don’t press the shutter button to take pictures. Instead, use the camera’s self-timer, a remote control, or a cable release. Also, if using a DSLR camera, set the mirror lock-up function to further prevent internal camera shake.
Don’t forget battery backup, warm clothes, and a flashlight! It will make your life a lot easier.
Manual focus is helpful here, since autofocus typically won’t work at night. Set it to infinity for buildings and landscapes. The same goes for your automatic white balance settings. Manually set it to “Daylight” to get the correct colors.
Finally, if you want to get REALLY technical, try light painting.
What, besides fireworks, looks so cool at night that you really would like a picture of it?
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/2 sec
“Singapore is a fine city,” the T-shirts say. No kidding! There are fines for practically everything there. I enjoyed walking around town and finding all the NO signs in various places. If you plan on traveling to Singapore, there are some things you may want to know.
Really important laws you don’t want to break:
- Littering (besides a fine, they may also make you wear a bright yellow jacket and clean up the rest of the street too!)
- Carrying drugs (WARNING: this can carry a death penalty, including foreigners!)
- Carrying explosives, firearms, pirated CDs/DVDs or obscene materials (includes just passing through the airport)
- Overstaying your 90-day visa, vandalism or trying to bribe a public official (punishable by caning and/or jail time)
Other things that are commonly banned, and that sort of make sense:
- Smoking indoors
- Eating on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
- Riding a bike on the RiverWalk (It’s very crowded)
- Durians (a very stinky fruit)
- Feeding pigeons or monkeys
- Chewing gum (the city is very clean)
- Overhead wires
- Satellite dishes
- Freestanding billboards
- Malaysian newspapers or material from Jehovah’s Witnesses or Unification Churches
- Homosexual activity (not enforced as much as other laws)
And then, the things that make me go HUH?? I’m sure they have their reasons… somewhere. 😯
- Breeding mosquitoes
- Walking around your own house naked
- Driving out of Singapore on less than 3/4 tank
- Not flushing the toilet
- Urinating in elevators (Why did this need to be a law???)
- Dancing without a license
- Handcuffs, even if pink and fuzzy
Can you think of an explanation for any of these? What’s your favorite crazy law?