Just recently I started getting again into night photography, which has been an old passion of mine – my favourite photo is this one – and it’s now time to create a new series. For now enjoy this photo of one of Amsterdam’s highways with long exposure in an interesting straight with an annoying limit of 80 km/h but that’s another story.
In general, for taking good night photos you need to choose a location with some action, cars, scooters, buses, anything that moves looks good. Anything static will NOT make a good night shot. I really like curves since you get a nice effect that looks as if the photo is alive. Then find a stable position for your camera, preferably with a tripod. Finally, these are my general settings for night photography: 10-30 seconds shutter speed with a F18 or F20 or even F29 (test it!) and ISO 100 or 200 (as low as your camera goes) will do the trick in most cases. Noise reduction might work, I suggest to test it first, if it doesn’t do the job, disable it.
Oh and here’s a small but important detail, make sure to use the timer and if you have a remote too, use them combined. With a long shutter speed, every micro vibration is recorded so when you press the shutter button, you create a vibration that the camera will unforgivably remember. For that reason, it’s pretty safe to use the timer (3-5 seconds will do) and for commodity sake, use a remote control as well so that you can stay a bit far and get ready to capture.