How to Get Started Shooting Nighttime Landscapes

Photographing landscapes at night is a great way to expand your skillset and create unique images. Shooting at night has its own set of challenges, but it can be a very rewarding way to capture the landscape. This post is intended to offer a few tips to get you started in nighttime landscape photography.

Caption: Denali and Aurora Borealis.
Canon 5d Mark III 24-105mm lens, 8 min @ f/4.0 ISO 1250
Aurora Borealis over Alaska's Denali, the highest peak in North America.

In the days of film, shooting at night was extremely challenging. Your options were limited to long exposures of star trails or using expensive astronomy equipment to allow your camera to move and track stars. Today, the latest digital SLR cameras make it easier than ever to shoot night scenes. When heading out to shoot, remember these considerations.

Light

Moonlight over Snowmass Lake.
Canon 5d Mark II 17-40mm lens, 15 sec @ f/4.0 ISO 1600
Snomass peak reflected in Snowmass lake illuminated by moonlight.

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