Digital Picture Techniques
How can I get the best outdoor pictures by night with a digital camera?
What extra equipment is necessary?
Unfortunately digital cameras get what is known as CCD Noise after excessive length of exposure. All the physics aside, what it means though, is that you're going to get "snow" on your images.
On most CCDs, this starts happening anywhere between the 10 to 30 second exposure mark, which is why most cameras do not allow you to expose for that long.
Also holding you back is the fact that you can't usually interchange lenses on a digital camera, and most digital cameras come with the largest aperture of f/3.5.
Finally, most CCDs behave as if it were an ISO 100 film, which isn't really appropriate for night photography.
Still... unless you're taking photos on a moonless night in the middle of the bush, 30 seconds should be long enough. Then, common sense applies: Use a stable tripod and hope for the best.
If you want to send a photo up here on what you are getting, I can suggest more what you are doing wrong, and even better, might be able to edit it to produce better results.
Shooting with a digital camera can be a nightmare. But there are ways of getting around it and getting some great shots. I have a Sony FD-95 and an Olympus point & shoot DL-320. I prefer the Sony because of many features and the telephoto zoom, but back to the main question.
The best way to shoot at night with a digital camera is to point the camera down to the darkest point (say pointing it to the ground), slightly press the shutter button and hold, lift camera up to take your picture of fireworks, sunsets, etc and click. When you do this, it opens the shutter to its maximum to receive the most available light when you shoot your subject. It works and you can get great shots of fireworks and even the lighted parade and Disney World. Experiment and you will see. Don't use the flash, but in lighted parades, a flash isn't bad since your subject is alot closer than fireworks. Good Luck!
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