Recently I’ve had some requests to share my camera settings for the photo Azure. So I figured I would do that here on my website and also give a few pointers for taking night time shots.
First the camera data:
Camera/Lens: Nikon D7000/Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 DX
White Balance/manual 3700k
High ISO NR/on
Long ex NR/on
Corel PaintShop Pro X4
First and foremost, a tripod is mandatory since a long exposure is necessary.
I like using the D7000 at night because of its low noise at high ISO. I don’t like to boost up the ISO so high if I don’t have to, but that morning was a little breezy, so I didn’t want to risk having the trees blur from the wind using a longer exposure. The D7000 makes it easy to get away with the ISO at 2000, but if you have an older camera you may need to add some noise reduction when editing.
The Tokina lens offers a super wide angle without the fish-eye look, and does well in low light at a fast f/2.8.
The in-camera noise reduction isn’t always necessary for such a short exposure, but it does make the blacks blacker.
I set the white balance manually at 3700k because it keeps the sky blue/purplish and drowns out the orange from light pollution. Sometimes I need to tweak the color temp to get the desired blue I want, depending on how much light pollution there is. Since there isn’t much light pollution in the Adirondacks, 3700k seemed to work good.
So when you add all these things up, you won’t have much editing to do afterwards. In the case of Azure all I did to this photo was brighten it up a bit. Of course timing and framing your shot is the most important thing, in my opinion, but that’s where experience, experimentation and creativity come in. Trying to capture what you see (or envision) at the moment can be a real challenge, but it’s the most enjoyable part of photography. It takes practice and even more persistence. Good luck!