Go out in the brief period after sunset
-when it's neither night nor day, when the sun no longer reveals the
hard edges of the landscape, but when there's still enough light in the
sky to see - and take photographs. Landscape at twilight is painted
with the colors of the sunset, but without the glare of the sun itself.
As a result, twilight landscapes are subtle-hued across the whole
frame, not just in the sky.
At night it's too dark for our eyes to detect color, so the landscape
appears in shades of grey. Photographic film, though, doesn't lose its
color sensitivity in the same way, so if you take pictures at night,
you may be surprised at how much more colorful they are than the scene
To use a camera effectively after sunset you'll need some extra
support. A tripod is ideal, but you can often improvise by propping the
camera up on a wall or a chair. Don't despair if your camera's meter
doesn't display a suitable shutter speed after dark: many cameras will
function on "automatic" even when the exposure meter appeared quite
For less haphazard results, use a separate hand-held meter - these are
generally more sensitive than those built into the camera body. You
must allow more exposure than the meter indicates, because film speed
drops in dim conditions. Film manufacturers supply exact details but,
in general, allow half a stop extra when the exposure exceeds one
second; one stop extra for exposures exceeding ten seconds; and two
extra when the shutter is open for a minute or more.
Snow makes night pictures easier to take,
reducing exposure times by a stop or two. Just after sunset, you can
use your camera's meter to set exposure.
Keeping detail in the moon
In order to keep the moon round make sure
shutter speeds don't exceed about 10 seconds with a standard lens.
When the sky is very dark, the moon appears in pictures as a blank
white disc. To retain detail, try to take pictures when the moon is
just a little paler than the sky.