Camera Stabilization for Night Photography

Ferry Bldg panorama

San Francisco waterfront. Three second exposure taken with HandlePod braced on a railing.

Cityscapes at night offer fabulous photographic opportunities. But many people do not photograph at night because of its difficulties. Exposure, white balance, focus and especially camera stabilization present challenges that many prefer to avoid. Yet night photography yields the most impressive images when done carefully and with proper technique. There are two approaches to shooting at night depending on whether or not you have some means of camera stabilization, preferably a tripod or alternative support.

 

Hand Held: Possible But Limited

If no support device is available and you must shoot hand held, the camera setting choices are limited. In order to keep the shutter speed brief enough to be hand held you must open the lens to the widest available aperture and crank the ISO to a high setting.

Fortunately, modern cameras have good low light capability with an ISO of 12,800 or more. This makes hand held night photography possible but at the cost of increased grain or noise. And the aperture must remain wide open and can’t be closed for better sharpness and wider depth of field.

Golden Gate Bridge night
Golden Gate Bridge at night. Eight second exposure, camera supported by HandlePod.

Stabilization is Best

A tripod or other support eliminates these issues. A low ISO setting, narrow aperture and long exposure times become possible with reliable camera stabilization. This opens up a world of possibilities for high quality night photography without the limitations imposed by hand held photography.

Yet carrying a tripod and taking the time to set it up and break it down is a commitment many people are not willing to make.

HandlePod solves the problem with a light weight, pocket size tripod alternative that is fast and easy to use. Just press it by hand against any available support or tie it with the elastic cord and long exposure night photography is a snap.

The photo at right is an eight second exposure done without a tripod by holding HandlePod against a railing.

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