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Practicing Night Photography Without Tripod

christmas feeling

Today I decided to practice night photography in the city, because I have trouble to take decent night photos without tripod. I could just take my tripod with me, but I still don’t have a decent bag for it, and anyway, I think it should be possible without a tripod in some situations. Today it rained, and the city is already decorated for christmas, I thought the reflections on the streets and all the christmas lights would make some interesting shots.

To be honest, I shot around 60 photos, but I deleted most of them as I failed. Talking about exposure, the photo in this post is the only one where I did use the perfect settings for handheld night photography. The exposure of the photo is nice I think, but apart from that I didn’t take care how I framed the photo, I just shot the photo very thoughtless.

Once I understand how and when night photography works without a tripod, I will probably take more attention to the subject again and how I frame the image. Anyway, to me photography is also about learning, and I went home with new experience. I like the shutter priority mode at night, because I only need to take care about ISO and shutter speed. I had luck and could take a photo handheld with 1/5 seconds shutter speed.

So, the photo above was taken in shutter priority mode, without tripod, the camera set to 1/5 seconds shutter speed and ISO manually set to 1600. That worked well anyhow. That did at least work with all the christmas lights, the wet and reflective ground. If you have experience with night photography, I would be glad to hear your opinion, and maybe I can learn something from you. Of course, I will also read more about night photography soon.

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7 Comments »

    • Thank you, I was interested in the light reflections on the water, I like that kind of look pretty much. But still I think a wider angle would have been better to show more of the street and christmas market, but I was too busy experimenting with the camera to get good exposure 🙂

      • Yes and a wider angle would have been good too :). I understand what you were doing. Get the exposure correct and worry about composition when you are happy that you know how to do that. I have a hard time with low light photography without a tripod as my hands are not so steady so I when I used film I went for the fastest film I could get hold of. Of course things like walls are also handy for resting the camera on but rarely do you find one in exactly the position you need.

      • Yes walls can help, in my case I was standing on a bridge and got hold on the bridge handrail, I forgot to mention this, and I think that’s why I could shoot steady with 1/5 seconds. My overall impression is that I should purchase a bag for my tripod, it would make night photography a lot easier, maybe I wil also purchase a monopod some day.

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