I attended the November meeting of the NW Houston Photography Club on 11/1/11.
Kathy Adams Clark teaches various photography courses in the Houston area through Leisure Learning Unlimited. She gave a very inspiring talk on Night Photography while showing various photos from her previous workshops in Italy, Ecuador, Morocco, Arizona, etc.
Sunsets - point the camera at the sky in manual mode dial in the shutter speed and underexpose by 1. Put the f-stop at f/22 to get a starburst just as the sun peeks above a building (or other object)
F/22 is great for the starburst effect on the sun or street lights
Tripods are required after the sun goes down
Intervolometer is suggested (made by Canon and Nikon) – I have the Satechi TR-M Timer Remote Control for Nikon
When photographing an area with people in the frame: the longer the shutter speed, the more the people will not show up (as long as they are moving) - the faster the shutter speed, the more people will appear.
Twilight sky lasts about 15 min-45 min after the sun goes down. This is a wonderful time to photograph.
Put the flash on and flash the foreground objects
10mm-17mm Tokina lens - close to a fisheye without having to spend a lot of money
Include the moon in shots for added interest
Need a fast enough shutter speed (at least 1/60sec) to stop the rotation of the Earth to keep from getting a blurred Moon
Night before the full moon, the moon comes up in a twilight sky. It is better for photographers on this night rather than the night of the full moon. On the night of the full moon, the moon rises in a dark sky. – I found a Full Moon Calendar online.
If you want to photograph just the moon, you need at least a 200mm lens to bring out the surface details.
Spot meter - only meter the light coming off the moon. If you use Matrix/Evaluative metering, the camera will try to expose for the surrounding sky and over expose the moon.
To photograph stars, take the mm of your lens and divide it by 500. This will give you the shutter speed needed to give you stars without trails.
Use the light from the full moon to illuminate subjects
Star trails are usually done using layer blends. Expose for 4 minutes, 1 second break, expose for 4 minutes, 1 second break....and so on. Take the JPEGs and pull them into Photoshop and do a layer blending. --- I found an awesome Flickr Group dedicated to Star Trails.
Point camera at the north star to get the star trail circles
Try to get elevated for a different perspective (parking garage, hill, etc)
Cityscapes can even be taken from your hotel room. Make sure all the lights are out on the room and put the lens right up against the glass to reduce reflections.
Look for lights reflecting in water. Wet streets or puddles
Rear/second curtain sync - makes the flash go off at the end of the exposure.
Waugh Street Bridge has a bat colony under it. May-October is the best time to catch them flooding out at night
Light painting is an interesting technique. You should always have more than one color flashlight when you do light painting.
"A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into." -Ansel Adams