One of the big challenges of outdoor adventures is capturing that magical experience that is night-time in the outdoors. Here are a few tips to help you take home a little bit of that nocturnal magic.

#1 Use a tripod

Trying to take quality photos at night with a handheld camera can be next to impossible. Use a tripod, a rock, or a handy tree to help keep your camera still during longer exposures to make sure night photos come out bright and crisp. That being said you can also purposely move your camera during night exposures to create fun effects like the one below.

Lava vent in Hawaii (handheld fun)
Halemaumau at night

#2 Use night time settings or longer exposures to expose low light scenes. 
The starry skies setting on a point and shoot can take nice photos of bright stars but use a longer shutter speed (15 seconds, 30 seconds, or bulb) to really capture night scenery.

 #3 Adjust your ISO settings to reduce noise in your photo

Long exposures with low light can cause bright pixels to appear in your photo if you are using a low ISO setting. Decrease noise by using higher ISO settings with longer shutter speeds and a low (wide) f-stop setting like f/2.8.

#4 Pick locations that have interesting features in addition to sky scenes.

Adding interesting features to your night/low light shots can be a great way to make a photo really pop. A sunset with a campfire, shooting stars over a lake, or a tree in front of the moon are a few examples.

#5 Experiment!

Don’t be afraid to use different settings on your camera and see what happens. Sometimes something as simple as bracketing the exposure or changing the white balance can make a night/low light photo really special.

Hmmm: the moon or my headlamp?

Thank you to all our great volunteers who take fantastic photos of their adventures and upload them to our website for everybody to enjoy!