Feckenham Church at Night

(click the image for a larger version)

(click the image for a larger version)

I’ve always wanted to try some night photography – it presents an interesting challenge, both technically and photographically. More and more areas in the UK seem to have gained Dark Sky status, and one of them, the Brecon Beacons, is get-attable from where I live. Of course, before I drive many miles to take photos in the dark, I thought it wise to test out both my camera and myself somewhere closer to home. So I found myself alone, in Feckenham Churchyard, after dark.

This was one of the images I took. The brightness of the image belies how dark it was to the human eye. the camera sensor can record so much more information in low light than you would expect.

Things I have learned already…

  • Head-torch is essential (I always carry one anyway)
  • Exposure is critical – it seems that underexposed images (on my camera at least) give noisy images
  • Focusing in the dark is an absolute pain 🙂 – in the end you end up focusing not far off infinity or using the scale on the lens as an ‘educated guess’. My advice – don’t panic! Use the image review and zoom in to check focus. Take the image again if you’re not happy
  • Take more warm clothing than you think you need. Even on a summer evening it gets cold standing around a camera and tripod
  • It takes ages for the stars to appear
  • Always shoot raw
  • The reason for the above is the quite large amount of post processing you need, but it’s easy to drag shadow and highlight detail out of you have your exposure correct

Photography stuff: 12-24mm lens at 12mm, 15 seconds at f/4.0, ISO 1600, tripod, remote release, plenty of warm clothing, flask of tea!

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