low light focusing

Taking photos at night using the spotlight or even a flash can be very challenging. The one thing that I have been struggling with is getting my focus correct as the auto focus is having trouble recognising points on which to focus. I tried manual focus but again, with the low light conditions, I too found it difficult to get the focus "spot on". The auto focus capabilities of different camera bodies will vary and the type of lens will also influence things.

low light photography at sabi sabi

I take all my night pictures with a 70-200mm f2.8 Nikon lens. This allows much more light to enter the camera, enabling me to get much faster shutter speeds - thereby allowing me to freeze some action such as walking or grooming etc. However, when you have a static subject you can afford a slower shutter speed as long as you have a steady base for the camera.

low light photography at sabi sabi

In both of these photographs I decreased the aperture to f5.6 to allow for an increased depth of field. This gave me a little bit more room for error, with my focusing allowing the images to come out looking super sharp. With the decreased aperture I had to slow the shutter speed down to 1/25th of a second in the first photo and 1/30th in the second. At such low shutter speeds it was vitally important that I rested my camera on a beanbag to avoid any camera shake. The photos were also slightly under-exposed to allow a slightly faster shutter speed. I increased the exposure in the post processing.

Both photos were taken with a Nikon D7000 with my 70-200mm f2.8 Nikon lens with the ISO set 1600. They were taken in manual mode to allow me the freedom to dictate the amount of light that I would allow in. Good luck with those night pictures.

Expose your balance

Richard de Gouveia

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