I enjoy taking pictures at night and in dimly-lit places, but often the photos turn out grainy and unclear.
I'm reasonably ISO-savvy, but I'm wondering if there's more I can do to ensure that all my photos are clear, even if the light isn't perfect?
- And how about taking photographs in mist and fog?
IN the dark you really have to be aware of camera shake. To get the best picture in low light situations you are most likely to succeed with a stationary object and a stationary camera. This way you can lengthen your shutter speed for as long as it takes to get a good picture. Your best bet in this case is a tripod. It stinks to have to carry one around but it really is the way that most night photos that are sold are made. Many of the night pics on my blog were made this way.
In mist and fog you have a much harder problem to combat. In these cases you actually have something between you and your subject, water. The water in the air is actually obscuring the object you are trying to capture. Pretty much your camera can't do anything your eyes can't do. If you can't see the object clearly in fog, then your camera won't either. With that said, it can lead to a cool effect but there really isn't much you can do otherthan use the same techniques you'd use in low light.
Remember, with digital there is only so much you an do to reduce noise. High ISOs lead to more noise and so do longer exposures. Anytime you see a starry night photo where the stars actually move, you are either seeing a composite of many digital pictures or seeing a film picture scan. The reason behind thisis simple. the longer the exposure beyond a certain point (say a few minutes) the more noise processing the picture adds. Sometime try setting your camera on a ledge and take a REALLY long exposure picture with it at night. You'll notice that the black areas are now really noisy. Its a problem we all suffer with!!
Best of luck!
Thanks! A tripod might be a liability in subways and eerie streets, but I'll try to keep my hands stiller and the ISO low.
What about using a bean bags to steady the camera, or one of those "gorilla" tripods? They're less bulky and might be a bit more discrete...