Night Photography: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay


Hi you’re watching AdoramaTV and I’m Doug McKinlay. In today’s segment we’re going to look at some of the do’s and don’ts of getting some of the really great evening and night pictures. AdoramaTV presents, Stay Focused with
Doug McKinlay. First and foremost we need to find the right spot, if you know your city really well, you’re
already ahead of the game. A little trick I use is I carry a little
notebook with me all the time so when I’m working, whether it’s here in
UK overseas, if I see something that might be interesting
for an evening shot I just mark it down, simply writing down a location and one or two lines about why its interesting. The next we have to think about is
logistics. Primarily what I mean is where and when the sun sets, of course this will be different where you are located. But for here in the UK, I prefer to shoot
from late autumn through early spring. I just find the sky
much more interesting at these times a year, plus it has the added advantage of I’m not struck out until 11 o’clock in the evening every night like I would in the summertime. Like all successful photography preparation is key. Once you’ve find your
location its time to consider a few of the technical aspects of what we want to achieve. What lens will I use? How much movement if any do I want to include in the shot? Is my
tripod sturdy enough to carry my heaviest lens? Once you’ve crossed all these t’s and dotted those i’s, it’s time to get down to making serious pictures. So we’re in our spot, we’re here before the sun has gone down, it gives us lots go time to get set up. The camera is on the pod, I’ve chosen my f-stop, I’ve chosen my lens. I know that the London Eye behind me and the London Assembly buildings are going to be
lit up at night. The London Eye will be moving, so I want to show some of that movement, so a really slow shutter, I’m guessing 30 seconds to a minute maybe more. It also gives it a nice icy sheen-like
affect on the river its not such a bad thing either if the boats go back and forth, because you’ll get the trailing lights going through the picture. Now in terms of white balance, I tend to shoot auto and adjust in the computer when necessary. When I’m shooting I tend to shoot a few minutes apart and just
check my LCD screen every now and then to make sure that everything is sharp. But we’re going to be using slow shutters
therefore we cannot touch the camera. You either have to use a cable release, or a 10 second timer on your camera. So now its a bit of a waiting game, we’re waiting for that light to start to fade a little bit to give us a little bit a movement. So the light is getting perfect the sky and the foreground are starting to even out, I’m going to get some nice slow shots now. I’m just going to take one. I got a 3 second exposure at f/11, its going to give me a nice sheen on the river, a nice slow action on that wheel. It’s not bad, but I want better. I want this to be really slow, I want those colors and that movement to
jump out at me, a little more waiting. Don’t forget to check out Adorama’s
latest contest where you can win some amazing prizes! So the light is getting really nice now, and I’m going to make progressional pictures, I’m going to stop down the aperture to
f/16 and increase my shutter speed. 25 seconds and then 30 seconds plus. So 20 second exposure, you can see the river is starting to get all
glassy, nice and glassy, ice-like, but I’m still unhappy with it, I
want it to be slower still. Once we’re past 30 seconds we need to switch to bulb. Now for our
purposes tonight we’re using this cable release thats got a locking system
on it, so once we lock it the shuttle will stay open until we unlock
it, it’s more or less a guesstimate. I’m going to leave it on for like 45 seconds, so I’m going to count in my head before I let the shutter go. Now thats what I’m talking about, thats a picture. Well thanks for joining us here on AdoramaTV, don’t forget to subscribe for more great video’s let us know what you think, you can like,
comment or share this video, and come on by the Learning Center for more great tips and tricks. Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure to visit our easy to use, online printing service
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18 thoughts on “Night Photography: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay

  1. That's not the London Assembly building,it's Country Hall, the former home of the defunct GLC. The GLA are in City Hall, near Tower Bridge.

  2. Good tips. When planning, weather would be needed to be brought into consideration.
    Moon phases and sunset-sunrise angles dependent on season also.

  3. Hi Doug, thanks for the video, it´s a great picture. 
    I have a few questions:
     Why 45 seconds? How did you calculate time exposure? Where did you focus ?

    Thank you again

  4. in the video @ 2:12 you describe ioShutter, I have this and using TriggerTrap app for Android on a Sony Xperia Z3 with latest OS, but it doesnt seem to work. Do you have any video where you can demo/review the product on Android?

  5. Fairly new to the SLR world here (about a year in). So what if you would like to capture details of say the Ferris wheel, rather than it's movement? How would you meter for that, at night, and have a fast enough shutter speed to stop movement?

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