Night Photography - Part 2
I've had a couple of queries about the best time to photograph buildings at night. This is briefly discussed below in Night Photography but I will try and expand on it.
When photographing landscapes there is a fairly long period around sunset when the light is atmospheric and gives a load of different lighting effects that we can use as photographers. We can do this because we can constantly adjust the camera as its getting darker, to optimise the exposure for falling light levels, this period is often referred to as the Blue Hour.
When photographing buildings that are lit by artificial light we have very little flexibility in the timing of the shot, as the interior light levels are the building are fixed and don’t vary with the falling external light levels. What we need to do is pick an exposure value (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) that gives us the interior exposure we want. We can generally get the right level soon after sunset. At this point the sky will still be quiet bright and over exposed, but the building interior will be correctly exposed. All we need to do then is wait as the external light level falls to the point where it complements the interior light levels and provides the look that we want. This is exact point is sometimes difficult to judge because your eyes will be used to the dark by then. I normally continue shooting to the point when the roof line of the building loses its definition and merges with the dark sky beyond.
You could be stood there for half an hour to get the right exposure so replace your lens cap between shots and keep a check on lens condensation especially if you are near water.