Toronto Nights: Taking Pictures at Night without a flash
Below is the recipe for the AiWeiWei images taken in the dark at Nathan Phillip Square. The image on the left represents the scene at Nathan Phillips Square. The image on the right represents the image taken with the below settings plus some adjustments in post.Why no flash? I wanted tomaintain the details in the foreground and background. A flash would have highlighted the head and removed the details in the background. A flash would have also filled in the shadows on the head, removing the 3 dimensional look.Camera – Canon EOS 6D – full frame cameras (1D, 5D, 6D) handle low light images better than crop sensors cameras (T4i, 60D, 70D, 7D).
Camera Mode – Manual – you will need full control of your camera’s shutter, aperture and ISO.
RAW File – The complete (lossless) data from the camera’s sensor. Higher in dynamic range (ability to display highlights and shadows). Better exposure adjustment in post processing.
Shutter Speed 15-30 secs – Capture as much light as possible without over exposing the image. You may need to play with this setting.
Tripod – With the shutter speed at 30 secs you will need to keep the camera steady. Any movement will blur the image.
Aperture f/4.0 – The wider aperture allows more light to enter the camera. (lower the number the wider the aperture)
ISO Speed 100 – Counter productive to capturing more light, a lower ISO will cause less noise/graininess in the image.
Lens: 24-105mm f/4L – Any high-quality lens will do. Camera’s have trouble focusing in the dark. You may need to switch to manual focus. Another trick is to use a flashlight as a focus assist light.