Night photography has an attraction all its own. There's something about scintillating lights from office windows hanging in the dark of the night -- a modern version of the starry skies -- that appeal to us. Whether it's a city skyline, lamp posts on a dark and deserted street, or the front of your house all decked out with holiday lights, the challenge of capturing the mood of a night scene depends on whether your digital camera is capable of night photography and on a couple of simple techniques.
For an image to be captured by a digital camera's image sensor, the latter requires exposure to light. But at night, light is what we don't have enough of.
Some of you may have noticed that, if you select a shooting mode of Auto (A) or Program Auto (P), your night pictures always come out too dark. They are simply underexposed. But, why is that -- if your camera's shutter speed ranges from, say 10 sec. to 1/2,000 sec.?
Go back to your camera's User's Manual and look a bit more carefully. Are all the shutter speeds available in Auto or P mode? Ah-ha, many digital cameras (we're talking consumer models here) do not make the whole shutter speed range available in A and P mode! Perhaps the slowest shutter speed available in A and P mode is only as slow as 1/3 sec. That's usually not long enough for night photography. To access the longer shutter speeds, you may need to select one of the other shooting modes, e.g. Shutter-Priority, or even switch to full Manual mode.