Because photography is the art and science of capturing light, you wouldn’t think that nighttime would present many photo opportunities. But in fact, nighttime pictures can be the most spectacular ones in your portfolio. City lights, river lights, sky lights, and even car lights can stand out like bright colors on a black canvas.
Unfortunately, you won’t get far in this kind of photography without a tripod. You can practice the following techniques by bracing the camera against a wall—but you’ll find the job infinitely easier with a true tripod.
You’ve seen this shot on postcards and in magazines: neon bands of light streaking across the frame, with a nicely lit bridge or building in the background. The trick to these shots is to keep the shutter open long enough for the cars to pass all the way from one side of the frame to the other (Figure 3-18).
When using film cameras, photographers rely on the camera’s B setting, in combination with a cable release (a shutter button on the end of a cord). The B setting (short for bulb) keeps the shutter open for as long as you hold down the release. Many a photographer has stood out in the cold, thumbs pressing down on icy cable releases, softly counting: “One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three…”
Your digital camera probably doesn’t have a B setting (although a few do have Bulb modes). But you can capture these dramatic shots if your camera offers a shutter-priority mode (see Figure 3-3 ...