Sam needed shots of Manila Bay for a class assignment and, as I usually do when she shoots, I brought a camera along and took photos with her. Just the Powershot G10 as I didn’t feel like hauling the 5D Mark II with the super heavy wide angle lens. I was confident that the G10 would produce good night photos. It usually does.
Something stronger than a soft breeze was blowing when I took this photo and I wanted to capture the motion of the fronds of the palm trees. So, I set the aperture to 2.8. No tripod so I set the camera on a ledge, pressed the shutter and let it do its job. Except for the addition of my signature and the cropping, the photo is unfiltered. No Photoshop, no Snapseed, no tweaking. The full exif data is on the right.
A small camera can take a night photo like that? A non-grainy photo?
Okay, most people jack up the ISO setting for night photography (or when the subject is in motion). There is an illustration of ISO settings in an older post to show how a photo becomes more and more grainy as the ISO setting goes higher.
Now, I hate grainy photos. So, the photo above was taken with an ISO setting of 100. With that setting, at night, the shutter is open for a long time and if the camera moves, even infinitesimally, blurring occurs. That’s why a tripod is a good idea. But what if you don’t have a tripod with you? How do you take a good photo? Me, I find something that doesn’t move to set the camera on. If the height is all wrong, find a prop. Even your bag or your shoe will do so long as the camera does not move. When you have the perfect frame, press the shutter and, whatever happens, do not touch the camera until you hear the “click” that signals that the shutter has closed. Voila! A non-grainy photo taken at night with an ISO setting of 100 and no tripod.