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Hey everybody! We’re proud to announce that we will be having a photo contest taking place, starting December 13th, 2013. The theme will be about mountains. Sign up to receive updates so you don’t miss a thing!

Ever take a photo with your brand new, high-end camera in the middle of the day and wonder why your photo doesn’t look nearly as good as a pro? Well one probable cause could be natural lighting. As I explained in a previous article, taking photography is just capturing the right amount of light. Taking those extremely vibrant photos has more to do with utilizing the right KIND of light because they can affect colors and contrast. Time of day, weather, and your direction in relation to the sun are the three factors that affect lighting.

Time of Day

For this article, we will talk about how the time of day influences your photos. The time of day is generally divided into three time slots. There is midday (including morning and afternoon), sunrise/sunset, and dawn/dusk. Each situation has its own benefits and disadvantages, which you can learn to utilize. Any references made to time are only an approximation and is actually more dependent on the position of the sun as show in the diagram below. This guideline is assuming that there are no clouds and no objects (i.e. mountains) in the horizon, which can all affect lighting.


Lighting is primarily dependent on the position of the sun to your subject

Midday - Broad Daylight

During midday, the sun is directly above the subject. The sun is closest to the subject and the least amount of sunlight is absorbed by the atmosphere. This is when contrast is highest and shadows are least exaggerated. Pictures taken during midday are typically washed out (too dark or too bright in some areas with very pale colors) and end up looking a lot like it was taken by a regular point and shoot camera.

Most new photographers bring out their expensive cameras around this time because it is most convenient. Unfortunately, this is also the most undesirable time to shoot. They believe that the camera is going to do all the work for them, but they are soon left frustrated when they can’t figure out why their professional grade camera can’t take professional looking pictures. Typically, this is the worst condition to shoot. There are situations to take advantage of these properties, but that is another topic for discussion.


Color is washed out and there is a lack of shadow

Most new photographers bring out their expensive cameras around this time because it is most convenient. Unfortunately, this is also the most undesirable time to shoot. They believe that the camera is going to do all the work for them, but they are soon left frustrated when they can’t figure out why their professional grade camera can’t take professional looking pictures.

During mid-morning and afternoon, the sun gradually gets lower, allowing for deeper shadows which can be used to create a more 3d effect.  More sunlight is absorbed by the atmosphere and colors are a little warmer. Typically, this is the worst condition to shoot. There are situations to take advantage of these properties, but that is another topic for discussion.


Really high contrast especially in the rocks and bushes.

Sunrise/Sunset – Golden Hour

During roughly an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, the sun is very low on the horizon. This is when the atmosphere absorbs the most direct sunlight, and it becomes amazingly warm and golden, hence “Golden Hour”. Shadows are longer, but a lot less pronounced because there is less contrast. Due to its beautiful warming properties, many portrait photographers like to shoot during this time. Golden hour is often the most difficult time to shoot because it is so easily affected by weather, horizon, and etc. This often leaves many professional photographers waiting for months to get the right light.


Warm, golden lighting and very soft shadows are characteristic of Golden Hour

Dawn and Dusk – Twilight

Twilight occurs roughly 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset. The sun has fallen below the horizon, but the sky is still bright because the sky becomes a giant light source as it reflects the sun’s light. The sky will be multicolored, with one side having reddish tones and the other side having vivid blue and purple. This period of time can be aptly named “Blue Hour”. Due to factors such as moonlight, the sky can remain blue for a very long time.


Taken right after sunset, the sky is a very vivid blue


There are many variations in lighting and every day is bound to be different. Often times you may get discouraged when the light you’re looking for doesn’t come, which as a photographer we sometimes have to face. However, the result that comes once you finally get the right light you’ve been looking for can be the most amazing motivation to overcome this obstacle!

Software Thoughts

Nov 12, 2013

I was preparing some content for our upcoming meet up on November 23, so I decided to take a panoramic shot of the iconic San Francisco skyline. I’ve been a heavy user/believer in the Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom combo and rarely anything else, but it was when I compiled the panoramic did I get this result:


Images clearly didn’t form a whole panoramic and the algorithms got tricked into thinking the picture was a portrait.

As you can see, the completed photo came out unusable. I did some research as to why this was and some suggestions were that there was too much black space which could confuse the algorithms. Still, I was left dumbfounded because any kid could have probably figured out where to put each individual shot to make the panoramic. Not to mention it took what seemed like an eternity to create that image with my computer.

Needless to say, I looked for options and was directed to Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor). Being that the only photo related software from Microsoft that I knew was Microsoft Paint, I was a little bit hesitant. I decided to keep my mind open and was glad that I did. Not only did ICE create a great looking panoramic, but it auto cropped for me and made things very user friendly. The process didn’t take very long either. The only issue I had was ICE couldn’t process raw files, so I had to convert them to TIFF files. Not exactly a deal breaker. 


Pretty short and simple program. Very user friendly and makes panoramic pictures a breeze!

Photoshop is an excellent tool and I used it to edit the image after I stitched it. It’s always nice to have software that can do just about everything you want, but the lesson I carried away here is that there are always better specialized programs and you should always be open to trying out new software.

You can check out the final results on Pashadelic


"Ganley Mountain: Night Clouds from a cliff: Mount Fuji"

Location: Nirasaki, Yamanashi- Japan

Photo Information: Focal Length: 50mm Shutter Speed: 5 Seconds Aperture: F1.8 ISO:200

Congratulations to crewfact for being selected for our first photo of the month spotlight! 

The photo was personally selected by Kenji, our CEO.

Starting this month, we would be selecting one photo from Pashadelic every month and awarding the user with a gift card worth 50 USD for Amazon or iTunes (user’s choice)!

Thoughts from Kenji on this photo-

"I was left with a strong impression when I first saw this photo. The distinct pinkish hues outlining the clouds and Mt. Fuji really brought out very vivid details. The composition is very controlled and well thought out. Mt. Fuji is placed slightly off center to the right and very little sky is utilized, forcing me to focus on the expanse of  clouds. This composition technique really brings a sense of depth between Mt. Fuji and me. Seeing this photo makes me want to go there and shoot as well!

Share one of your best photos on pashadelic and you could be featured next! 

Congratulations to our users being featured for top photos of the week!

From Left to Right to Down:

mbboyd007 - “Virginia Creeper Trail”:

harri.kantola.71 - “Ramsvik_11778”:

shawn.zhang.900 - “A Beautiful Town in China”:

yuji.matsumoto.106 - “iphone photo” :

jiaojiao.du - “Chengdu” :

makoto.yoneda.165 - “Fantastic Autumn”:

glebtarro - “Green River Overlook”:

Happy Halloween Pashadelics!
We hope your costumes are ready for the night! The Pashadelic team celebrated this year through pumpkin carving!!!

Also, we just posted our upcoming MeetUp in November. Click here for more information! More details will be posted at a later time.

Last Saturday, on October 19th, Pashadelic had its very first Meetup at Pier 14 in San Francisco, California! We thank everyone that came out to support. We had such great fun meeting the thirty new photographers that came out, teaching them about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Take a look at a few snaps that we got! 

Ah, such lovely people. It was a pleasure meeting everyone.  Stay tuned for our next Meetup in November!


Why did you want to start traveling all over the world to take landscape photos?

Because traveling all over the world is challenging to me. I have no sense of direction, my stomach is not very strong and also I cannot speak English well. There are still many unsafe countries, so I was afraid to visit different countries and I stayed in Japan until I was around 30. If I never left Japan, I would have never been able to grow. I always avoided my weakness, but I wanted to get over it. That’s why I decided to visit 100 countries. Even though I’ve visited many countries, I still anxious or I get into some uneasy situations.  I believe in my heart that if I become a photographer, I should visit all of the countries and take pictures at those places.




How many countries did you visit? And how many countries will you visit?

I visited 34 countries and 66 countries to go. My goal is 100 countries, but that is just visiting. After I finish visiting 100 countries, I will visit where I really want to go back to again. Then, I will stay longer and focus on finding better locations and taking better photos.


Have you changed yourself since you start this project?

My weakness is getting smaller. First of all, I use a compass when I am traveling, so I am getting better at finding places. I am getting healthier, such as learning what kind of food I should not eat.  My English is also getting better. I still have problems communicating with people, but I have learned from many situations that help me understand more than before.

My biggest change, since I started this project, is that I became tough. It was not easy to sleep with a lot of noise before, but now I don’t care about it very much and my mentality is stronger than before. I am still progressing, but when I see the world, I am thinking that I don’t bother with petty things, and I can explore new ideas or look in different ways.


Where would you like to go to take a photo now, and what would you like shoot?

When I look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website, they give warning information around south America or central America. The alert level was at 2 which mean we “should consider not visiting”. I have to visit those countries to meet my goal and those countries have great photo spots for me. I love to take photos in the unexplored regions in South America. Eventually, I want to visit the African continent. I have only visited the Republic of Tunisia so far, so I would like to visit areas south of Tunisia, and then I want to take photos of many wild animals in the savanna.


What would you like to tell people with your photos?

I have another project different from the world photo project. This project is for publishing some books or goods with my hand written messages. It has been 10 years since I started this project and I have published 7 photo message books, postcards and greeting cards up to now. The most important thing about this project are the messages to people, more than the photos. In the world photo project, there won’t be any hand written messages, just photos that I take. Therefore, I have to take photos that people can imagine their own messages in their head without any words. I would like to tell the people that a photo could make people extend their imagination. I think that the world has a lot of great locations, and there are more locations than what tourist books tell. I want to shoot those locations and I want to give unlimited imagination to people.  


What kind of photographer would you like to be in the future? 

I think most people see a photo and think, “what a beautiful photo location,” or “someday I want to visit there.” However, some locations have a history behind why the photo looks great. I would like to tell people my experience along with those histories. I would like to become a photographer who could give more information using other media, and not only taking great photos.

Tatsuro’s photo gallery!


The Golden Gate area is in the northern section of San Francisco. It is made up of two National Historic Landmarks — The Presidio and Fort Mason — as well as several upscale neighborhoods including Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, and the Marina District. It has some of the most beautiful scenery and intact natural environments in the city. It is roughly bounded by the San Francisco Bay to the north and west, Lake St and California St to the south, and Van Ness Ave to the east. The Golden Gate Bridge connects this district withMarin County across the Bay to the north.

The top 5 places to photograph Golden Gate Bridge:

1. Baker Beach - Baker Beach is a public beach on the peninsula of San Francisco, California, U.S.. The beach lies on the shore of the Pacific Ocean to the northwest of the city.


2. Fort Point- Battery Trail- Fort Point is located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War, to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships.


3. Kirby Cove - Kirby Cove Camp is a campground and scenic area managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the Marin Headlands, California.

Photo By: Jeff Sullivan Photography (


4. Vista Point – The Vista Point Overlook off Highway 101 just north of San Francisco offers the perfect picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. At Vista Point, take in the stunning view from the other side of the bay.


5. Horeshoe Cove - Horseshoe Cove, with its naturally protected shape and location, has long offered respite from strong winds and currents at the Golden Gate. Native Americans found shelter and an excellent food source here, and later, ships discovered a safe harbor during bad weather.

Photo By: Jeff Sullivan Photography (

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San Francisco, CA is one of the most visited cities in US. Here is a list of our top 10 favorite photo-spots you shouldn’t miss when you are here!

1. The Golden Gate Bridge - is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of bothU.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County. It is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of theWonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.The Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world”.









Source : Wikipedia Golden Gate Bridege



2. Alcatraz Island –  is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as “The Rock,” the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.








Source : Wikipedia Alcatraz Island



3. Twin Peaks - are two hills with an elevation of about 922 feet (281 m) near the geographic center of San Francisco, California. Except for Mount Davidson, they are the highest points in the city. The peaks each have their own names: Eureka Peak/North Peak and Noe Peak/South Peak. 100 ft (30 m) below the Eureka/North Peak is the popular vista point known locally as ‘Christmas Tree Point’, which offers unobstructed views of most San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay. A wide variety of bird species, insects and vegetation also thrive in these areas.







Source : Wikipedia Twin Peaks


4. Chinatown / North Beach - Chinatown, in San Francisco, California, (Chinese: 唐人街; Mandarin Pinyin: tángrénjiē; Jyutping: tong4 jan4 gaai1) is the oldest Chinatown in North Americaand the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Visitors can easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. In addition to being a starting point and home for thousands of Chinese immigrants, it is also a major tourist attraction, drawing more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge.








Source : Wikipedia Chinatown San Francisco


North Beach is a neighborhood in the northeast of San Francisco adjacent to ChinatownFisherman’s Wharf and Russian Hill. The neighborhood is San

Francisco’s Little Italy, and has historically been home to a large Italian American population. The American Planning Association (APA) has named North Beach as one of ten ‘Great Neighborhoods in America’.













Source : Wikipedia North Beach 


5. Haight Ashbury / Mission District - Haight-Ashbury is a district of San Francisco, California, named for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. It is also called The Haight and The Upper Haight. The Haight-Ashbury district is noted for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movement. The neighborhood is home to many restored Victorian housesPainted Lady Victorians are a common sight throughout the neighborhood.









Source : Wikipedia Haight Ashbury


The Mission District, also commonly called “The Mission”, is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, USA, originally known as “the Mission lands”  meaning the lands belonging to the sixth Alta California mission, Mission San Francisco de Asis. This mission, San Francisco’s oldest standing building, is located in the neighborhood. Mission Dolores, the eponymous former mission located the far western border of the neighborhood on Dolores Street, continues to operate as a museum and as a California Historical Landmark, while the newer basilica built and opened next to it in 1913 continues to have an active congregation.








Source: Wikipedia Dolore Park Sunny Day



6. San Francisco City Hall - re-opened in 1915, in its open space area in the city’s Civic Center, is a Beaux-Arts monument to the City Beautiful movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917. The structure’s dome is the fifth largest in the world. The Rotunda is a spectacular space and the upper levels are public and handicapped accessible. Opposite the grand staircase, on the second floor, is the office of the Mayor.








Source : Wikipedia SF CityHall



7.  The Ferry Building - is a terminal for ferries that travel across the San Francisco Bay, a marketplace, and also has offices, located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. The ferry terminal is a designated San Francisco landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Until the completion of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930s, which began to carry railroad traffic, the Ferry Building was the second busiest transit terminal in the world, second only to London’s Charing Cross Station.









Source: Wikipedia San Francisco Ferry Building


8. The Palace of Fine Arts - in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals, and is a favorite location for weddings and wedding party photographs for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and such an icon that a miniature replica of it was built in Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.










9. San Francisco National Cemetery  – is a U.S. National Cemetery, located in the Presidio of San FranciscoCalifornia. Because of the name and location, it is frequently confused with Golden Gate National Cemetery, a few miles south of the city. It was the first national cemetery established on the West Coast and marks the growth and development of a system of national cemeteries extending beyond the battlefields of the Civil War. The cemetery is enclosed with a stone wall and slopes down a hill that today frames a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Its original ornamental cast-iron entrance gates are present but have been unused since the entrance was relocated.








Source : Wikipedia SFNC


10. Coit Tower - also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Due to the extreme topography, the parking lot at the top of the hill is only accessible by one road, Telegraph Hill Boulevard via Lombard Street. Because Coit Tower is such a popular tourist attraction, at peak times, the street can be backed up and the wait for parking to open up can be long. You can expect a 360 degree panoramic view of the city from the top of The Coit Tower.






Panoramic view from the top of Coit Tower
Source : Wikipedia San Francisco Skyline Panorama

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With about 42 million tourists per year, Paris is the third most visited city in the world after Orlando and New York City, and the first by international visitors (with about 17 million). The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Following are the Top 10 photo spots we think you must definitely factor into your next visit of this city:


☆Photo spots best visited in Early Morning


1. Notre Dame de Paris- Notre Dame de Paris is often reputed to be one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture in both France and in Europe. It was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The cathedral has a narrow climb of 387 steps at the top of several spiral staircases; along the climb it is possible to view its most famous bell and its gargoyles in close quarters, as well as having a spectacular view across Paris when reaching the top.









Source : Wikipedia NotreDamel



2. Sacre- Coeur- A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the supposed excesses of the Second Empire and socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ. Sacré-Cœur is open from 06:00 to 22:30 every day. The dome is accessible from 09:00 to 19:00 in the summer and 18:00 in the winter. The use of cameras and video recorders are forbidden inside the Basilica.












Source : Wikipedia Le sacre coeur


☆Photo Spots best visited before Mid Noon


3. Eiffel Tower- Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 7.1 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift (elevator), to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift – stairs exist but they are not usually open for public use.












Source : Wikipedia Tour Eiffel



4. Tuileries Garden- The Tuileries Garden (French: Jardin des Tuilerie) is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was first opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the French Revolution. It’s a scenic spot for photographers to capture the relaxed atmosphere of Paris.









☆Photo spots best visited in Noon


 5. Canal Saint Martin- The entrance of the canal is a double lock near Place de Stalingrad. Then, towards the river Seine, the canal is bordered by the quai de Valmy on one side and the quai de Jemmapes on the other. The canal continues to the Seine via the Port de l’Arsenal. The canal widens at Bassin de la Villette, the largest artificial lake in Paris. Along the canal is an unusual hydraulic lifting bridge, the Pont levant de la rue de Crimée.












Source : Wikipedia Canal Saint-Martin



6. Place Des Voges- The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612. What was new about the Place Royale in 1612 was that the housefronts were all built to the same design, of red brick with strips of stone quoins over vaulted arcades that stand on square pillars.





Source : Wikipedia Vosges Panoramica


☆Photo spots best visited in Late Afternoon


7. The Bouquinistes - The Bouquinistes of Paris, are booksellers of used and antiquarian books who ply their trade along large sections of the banks of the Seine. Installed along more than three kilometres of the Seine and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 240 bouquinistes make use of 900 “green boxes” to house some 300,000 old books and a very great number of journals, stamps and trading cards. The second-hand booksellers of Paris have inspired booksellers in other cities such as Ottawa, Beijing and Tokyo.








Source : Wikipedia Bouquiniste Paris


8. Pont Alexandre III- The Pont Alexandre III is an arch bridge that spans the Seine, connecting the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris. It is classified as a historical monument. Numerous sculptors provided the sculpture that features prominently in the bridge. Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge, supported on massive 17-meter socles, that provide stabilizing counterweight for the arch, without interfering with monumental views.








Source : Wikipedia Pont-Alexadre lll et Invalides


☆Photo spots best visited in Late Evening


9. The Louvre- Louvre Museum or simply The Louvre—is one of the world’s largest museums, and a historic monument. With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. The museum lies in the center of Paris on the Right Bank. The neighborhood, known as the 1st arrondissement, is home to the destroyed Palais des Tuileries. There are three entrances: the main entrance at the pyramid, an entrance from the Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping mall, and an entrance at the Porte des Lions (near the western end of the Denon wing).






Source : Wikipedia Louvre Museum



10. Tour Montparnasse- is a 210-metre (689 ft) office skyscraper located in the Montparnasse area of Paris. The 56th floor, with a restaurant, and the terrace on the top floor, are open to the public for viewing the city.  At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in Europe by roof height. The view of the city from the roof is breath-taking!







Source : Wikipedia Paris Night 

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Hello Pashapeople!

Hope your week is going well, filled with adventures and opportunities to take great pictures! Alerting all photo-snapping werewolves: this month, the full moon will be out September 19th: in New York, at 7:12am and 4:12am in San Francisco.  Make plans for tomorrow!
















If any of you San Franciscans/New Yorkers want to plan for another full moon, we’ve compiled a helpful chart for the next year to help you plan your next full moon picture!
















*Photo Credit: Ajay Lalu (

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Hi all! In anticipation for our meet up at Pier 14, I thought I’d cover some of the basics for the beginners out there. We will be shooting the bay bridge on October 19 around 5:30pm!


Photography is just the process of gathering light with a camera resulting in an image.  Exposure, or how much light you’ve collected, determines how dark or bright the picture turns out.

Factors that Affect Exposure

Exposure is affected by three settings known as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. We can think of exposure as a bag (camera) collecting jelly beans (light) from a dispenser. The dispenser represents all the available light in the scene you’re trying to take. Taking a picture is the instance of collecting light with a camera.  Each setting controls the way the camera can collect light.

Shutter speed is the time the bag spends collecting jelly beans. The longer the shutter speed, the more light the camera collects.

Aperture is how wide the bag is. The larger the aperture, the more light the camera can collect at any given time.

ISO is the quantity of jelly beans being released out of the dispenser. The higher the ISO, the more light the camera is getting.

Each setting has its benefits and limitations. You want to utilize these 3 settings to fill the exposure with the right amount of light.  Collect too little light and the photo comes out too dark (underexposed). Collect too much light and the photo comes out too bright (overexposed).  Surprisingly simple, but mastering exposure is a very crucial step to learning how to take great photos! Go ahead and put your camera in manual mode and try adjusting these settings!

Shutter Speed

The most critical setting for night photography will be shutter speed. Exposure time is controlled by shutter speed. With a short shutter speed, less light is taken in by the camera and the resulting exposure will be on the darker side. Advantages of a shorter shutter speed will allow the camera to freeze objects in motion. However, if the shutter speed is too fast, the exposure will be underexposed because the camera cannot take in adequate light during that time frame. Conversely, setting the camera at a slower shutter speed (long exposure) will allow the camera to take in more light, making the exposure brighter. Since the camera is taking in light throughout the duration of shutter speed, moving objects will show up as a blur. Not to mention if you have unsteady hands, the more likely the whole picture will turn out blurred if your shutter speed is too slow! Having a tripod to stabilize the camera during a long exposure will eliminate this blurring. For our event, we will want to shoot with slower shutter speeds on a tripod to gather more light in such a dark scene. Moving objects such as an ocean will develop a smooth, shimmering effect because of ripple movement. 

image 8 seconds @ f/5.6 ISO 200: Relatively short shutter speed shows choppy water


30 seconds@ f/5.6 ISO 200: A longer shutter speed smoothens the water and creates a better lit sky

Technical: Higher end cameras (i.e. dslr) will be able to take a shot from 1/8000’s of a second, to just about as long as the user desires the shot (exposure) to last. It is important to note that most cameras have to be set to bulb mode in order to get really long exposure times (I.e. over 30 seconds). The user usually has to dictate how long the shutter speed will be by using a remote to activate the exposure and using it again to end the exposure. A last resort method is to press the shutter button (the button to activate exposure) while in bulb mode and remain holding it until you want to end the exposure. This is prone to destabilizing the camera and leaving your images blurry.


Every lens has an opening/close diaphragm called the aperture. When a picture is taken, the aperture closes and leaves a small opening allowing light to pass and reach the camera. If we took 2 shots at the same shutter speed, the exposure with the larger aperture setting will come out brighter. The aperture size can be adjusted and is measured in f-stops. Ironically, the larger the opening, the smaller the f-stop number will be. So f1.4, would leave a much larger opening than an f16. Once again, aperture really just controls how much light is allowed in one instance to create the exposure. The larger the aperture setting is, the more light can enter the camera.  All lenses have limitations to how small/large the aperture can be.

When you take a picture, the camera focuses on to an object. Other objects that are a different (closer or further) distance between the object in focus and the camera will have less focus. The larger the difference in distance, the more out of focus these objects will be. This concept is called the depth of field, which is an indicator of how far an object has to be from the main subject before it goes out of focus. The larger the aperture, the fewer things will be in focus in your image due to a shallower depth of field. Having a really shallow depth of field is very desirable for portraits and any kind of photography where you would want to isolate a subject from distracting backgrounds. Using a smaller aperture will result in having a larger depth of field, which means objects around the main subject will be significantly more visible. If you can imagine when you squint your eyes to some degree, you will actually be able to see things more clearly than if they were wide open. The same principle applies to aperture. However, just like if you were to squint your eyes too much, the overall image sharpness will be decline if you use too small of an aperture due to diffraction. Sometimes you want to have this tradeoff if you want a larger depth of field. Generally speaking for our shoot, we will ideally want to shoot in the “sweet spot” of our particular lenses to keep as much as possible in focus, without having too much diffraction. 


Shot @f/1.4: Notice how even the pens behind the blue pen in focus are blurred. Backgrounds are hardly distinguishable.


Shot @f/4: Background pens are more distinguishable due to increasing depth of field.


Shot @f/16: Background is very visible and all pens appear to be in focus.


ISO is the setting that makes our cameras more sensitive to light. Just like a radio, music will play louder if we turn the volume knob. However, if we turn it up too high, we begin to hear “static” and other undesirable “noise”. The same applies for ISO. Turning up the ISO will mean the camera can gather more light, but turn it up too high and your picture will develop grainy, often undesirable pixels known as noise. 


Shot @ISO200 Noise Free


Shot @ISO25600: Noise


These three settings bring in more light, each with certain advantages and disadvantages over the other. When trying to set up your exposure, it is important to know the limitations of each and create a balance between the three:

Shutter: Motion Blur

Aperture: Depth of Field

ISO: Noise

 With a nighttime landscape photo, we will be shooting with smaller apertures to get more in focus, but that will severely limit our lighting. We can compensate for this by lengthening the exposure time with the shutter speed setting. If there are certain objects moving in our photos (i.e moon) that would not look good blurred, we can turn up the ISO to shorten the shutter speed.