I love wintertime when the sky is filled with clouds, which can be a recipe for AWESOME sunsets. I raced over to the small beach town of Cayucos from Paso Robles, 1/2 hour away, when I saw the clouds in the sky. I was too late to watch the sun disappear, but the drama, as usual, was after the sun set. The sky was aglow with color. Cayucos, a beautiful little beach town on Highway 1, a surfing community and a throwback to the 50′s, is great for shooting. I was nearly alone on the beach except for a few people around a beach campfire. Using my trusty 5DMII, which is my go-to camera for landscape photography, I decided to try some night shooting from the beach.
Night shooting is a simple process and fun as you never know what you will get. Since night shooting calls for slow shutter speeds, a tripod is a necessity, as is a remote shutter release.
Use the bulb setting and try different time exposures to find what works. Using the AV setting, gives you the ability to choose the aperture and to see if the shutter speed is long enough. If it is not long enough, raise the ISO. 100-400 ISO works just fine at night. I started with 10 seconds, viewed the image; went to 20 seconds, viewed; then 30 seconds, until I found what worked. Use of a remote shutter release will minimize camera shake. It is also needed if you shoot longer than 30 seconds.
For night landscape or seascape photography, bring a flashlight, tripod, remote shutter release, warm clothes, experiment, and just have fun … and stay warm in the winter weather.
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