Night secrets… They are hidden for the time being in any garden, you just need to be able to see them, capture them and show them to the world. How do I do this? We’ll tell you!
Taking photos in the dark is tempting and questionable at the same time. And all because many novice photographers do not believe that in such difficult conditions you can get decent shots. And completely in vain! If you have certain skills, night “photo hunting” can bring very interesting results. Moreover, you do not need any special equipment, you only need a tripod to cope with long exposures in low light conditions.
Any landscape, including the garden, at sunset or dawn (and even before dawn) hours look very different than during the day, often much more attractive and even magical. Most often, it is during these periods of time (they are also called “golden hours”), when the clouds light up with bright colors, and the moon and stars are still visible in the sky, that photographers take the most wonderful pictures. Why don’t we also capture our gardens in a mysterious atmosphere of darkness or twilight? And this can be done not only in summer, but also in winter, emphasizing the strict schedule of tree planting.
Technical features of night shooting
We have already talked about the tripod, most cameras can not shoot with your hands in the dark without it, because the shutter speeds can reach several tens of seconds.
The shooting mode is set manually, or you can set it with the priority of the aperture, setting the desired value (for landscapes, usually in the range of f/8 — f/5.6, but this is not dogma), and the shutter speed for the correct exposure is selected by the camera itself.
Important: by closing the aperture, we get an interesting optical effect — the bright light sources in the frame will emit radial rays.
The light sensitivity parameters of the ISO matrix should be set to the minimum, 100 or, if the camera allows, even 50. This will reduce the digital noise in the images and make them cleaner. In the dark, autofocus does not work well, so it is advisable to switch the camera to manual focus mode.
There is another option — to adjust the liquid crystal display in Live view mode, using the screen as a viewfinder. This is quite convenient and allows you to adjust the exposure immediately.
When shooting at night, light sources that are completely different in color temperature can fall into the field of view: clouds that reflect the light of the sun, the rays of the rising sun, the moon, lanterns, and glowing windows of houses.
Therefore, when adjusting the white balance in the camera, it is not easy to guess the correct option. The best way out of this situation is to shoot in RAW format in automatic white balance mode. In the subsequent processing of the image, it will not be so easy to restore the correct colors in the image.
And some more useful tips
With a large contrast of shadows and lights in the frame, using such a technique as bracketing can help. It allows you to make a series of several consecutive frames with different exposures and later form a collected HDR image from them. Important: do not forget to turn off the image stabilizer in both the camera and the lens, then the picture from the tripod will become sharper.
To overcome the “stir” instead of the trigger button, it is useful to use a cable, a remote control or a self-timer.
Very interesting shots can be made in the gardens, where the landscape lighting of the site is arranged. It consists in highlighting the garden house, other structures and small architectural forms, various functional areas and fragments of the garden. With the help of street lamps or light garlands, paths are illuminated, the crowns of individual solitary trees and shrubs, as well as plant groups, are specially illuminated. Landscape light can vary in intensity and color, creating amazing fairy-tale effects that are perfectly conveyed in the images.
Fascinating photos are also obtained at dusk, when the sky is still painted in warm colors by the setting sun, and the lanterns are already turned on. If the sun has not yet set below the horizon, you can have time to choose unusual angles, shooting both by light and in the contour rays. And even in complete darkness, in the garden, where there is no special lighting, the light from the windows of the house allows you to make surprisingly sincere, tender pictures.
The Council: During a photo shoot, you can also use a bright flashlight, highlighting individual plants or compositions with a long exposure. This technique is called “light brush”. Applying the backlight each time will give a unique image of the garden landscape. But the flash in the night shooting of the garden is undesirable, because it usually creates a contrasting and flat picture, and as a result, leads to much more rough results.
And one more hint: if the garden has a pond, stream, pool, then you have a great opportunity to shoot night reflections. The light sources will double, and there will be even more beauty. If the water is calm, you can get excellent symmetrical pictures of the garden, otherwise the ripples or waves on the water will give an incredible kaleidoscope of reflected colors. Try to take a few pictures, bringing the camera close to the water itself — I assure you, you will like the effect!