Sunday, January 13, 2008

Night Photography

I love my Nikon D40, unfortunately I still have barely a clue how to use it outside of Auto mode. There are a lot of really great features that I would like to learn how to use, unfortunately little things like being a mom, working full time, taking classes, and watching Grey's Anatomy keep getting in the way. So basically I have been learning as I go a little bit at a time.

One of the things I want to do is night photography. So the other night...when it was thirty below zero I noticed that we had some ice fog and that it had created light pillars. They were not especially dramatic light pillars so I thought I might try and photograph them.

Here is a really great picture of my neighbor's junkyard in the dark. If you look in the background you might see some light pillars.

I have been wanting to take some aurora photographs but it's not that easy. When you have your camera already attached to the tripod and ready to go there will be no aurora. When you are out riding around behind town looking at the sky, there will be no aurora. When you are driving home from work at thirty below and you have no camera there will be really great aurora. So you speed home, get your camera, try screwing it onto the tripod and cuss when you can't get it threaded right, finally get it on, run out side, and guess what? No more aurora. Well I did manage to catch a piece...a small sliver......

See it? See it?'s a start.


Harlekwin said...

I was just about ready to post a comment on your WW for this week when I got curious and wanted to see what else you've posted on your page picture wise. I'm also relatively new to my DSLR. I have a Canon RebelXT and like you, I've been learning as I go along.

I've been taking lots of night shots lately because I've learned a couple of tricks. I don't know if this will work with your camera, but it's worth a shot *g*.

Set your camera to "P" so you can program it. On the toggle buttons the top one ought to be for your ISO. If it's dark outside, set your ISO to 1600. Then change your white balance to accommodate the light source. On my camera the white balance in the bottom toggle button. I usually set it for tungsten or fluorescent. The higher ISO will speed up your shutter and help eliminate some of the wiggling that occurs when the shutter is open for too long.

Dang, I know what you mean about not having the camera at the right time. I'm always wanting to take pictures of clouds across the moon and never seem to get them. It's good you have a tripod, they're worth their weight in gold.

Happy snapping. I'm off to explore some more.

FishD said...

I can see it! I miss the aurora. We lived in Juneau when I was in high school and I miss it a lot. Went back to visit two summers ago and it was like going home. Still not sure why I don't live there now. I'm thinking about moving, and that's one of the top contenders.

I found you by googling Alaska blogs - love the pictures!