Siem Reap by Night

Siem Reap by Night

Night photography is definitely one of the more difficult things when it comes to photography. There are many reasons for that. To name some few, the relatively slow shutter speed, the increased ISO, the large aperture. However, if you know how to master that different parameters, your pictures become outstanding. They present a completely different picture compared to day photography. Colors are much more intense, emotions can be created with ease. And because we from Angkor Wat Photography like it so much, we even created a tour with this particular subject! The following picture shows the bridge to Siem Reap’s famous Art Market. During the day, this bridge is just another wooden bridge crossing the river. During the night, the lights transform the bridge into something special.

Due to the slow shutter speed you can create very nice effects. The below picture shows a loaded motorbike shot with a shutter speed around 1/20 sec. What I did was following the motorbike with my camera when I pressed the release. This way the motorbike driver is considerably sharp, while the background behind him is completely blurry from the movement of the camera. This technique requires some kind of training, but it is really exciting when you get a proper shot done.

The next picture was taken at the old market, Siem Reap downtown. This sales woman was heavily involved in a discussion with a client. If you wanna take this kind of pictures, and if you don’t want to destroy the scenery with a flash, you have to work with high ISO and large aperture setting. While large aperture is good for the picture, the high ISO settings are not so good. Reason is that the picture becomes grainy (like in the old film days when ASA 3200 caused a lot of grain on the picture). While some people say grain is not bad, it does not disturb in certain situations, there is another side to high ISO settings. The sharpness of the picture will go down. Actually, the grain causes sharp contrasts to blur out a little bit. What you need to do when taking such a picture is to find the right balance between shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

Remember, when doing night photography it is important to have sufficient shutter speed. Otherwise your pictures will become blurry. In addition, make sure you put your aperture as low as possible, but not too low. Lenses tend to become un-sharp when completely open. So if your lens starts with lets say F 3.5 go at least 1/2 stop or even 1 stop higher. Otherwise you might experience some sharpness problems. And the final point to mention – ISO. Make sure you only increase the ISO as high as really necessary. The higher ISO you have, the lower quality image you will produce. If you make a great picture and you you want to make a poster for your living room, you don’t want to have a lot of noise in it.