Using long exposure at night brings a whole other dazzling world into view. Such modes of expression transcend what can be seen with the naked eye and are a pleasure unique to photography. And what better time to capture such images than in the still of the night, which is said to be the best time to be out with your camera to capture your subject. I found that the depictive powers of the D500 well-and-truly responded to my expectations. (Photo and report by Tetsurou Kobayashi)
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR/ FL: 80mm (equivalent to 120mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/8, 6 sec, EV -1.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
The lights shining on a factory at night give it a metallic sheen that make you feel as if you were on the set of a futuristic sci-fi movie. And thanks to the wide dynamic range of the D500, even the dark areas are well depicted.
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 14mm (equivalent to 21mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/14, 20 sec, EV -1.3)/ ISO 50/ WB: Auto
When shooting moving cars at night using a long exposure, the car lights form light trails, allowing you to depict beautiful lines. To increase the quantity and colour of the light trails, I used the Multiple Exposure function to record 3 exposures and combine them into one photograph. This was very convenient as everything was done in the camera.
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 19mm (equivalent to 28mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/8, 6 sec, EV -1.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Even casual cityscapes are transformed into stunning views when bathed in beautiful night lights. I shot this photo from a low position to include more of the colourful water surface in the frame. The D500’s tilting monitor allowed me to take shots without having to assume an uncomfortable posture, and the image was displayed clearly in Live View even at night.
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 45mm (equivalent to 67.5mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/7.1, 4 sec, EV -1.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Shooting the numerous buildings clustered together from a high position produces extremely beautiful photos, and can be said to be the simplest approach to nightscape photography. Coupled with the high definition capabilities of the D500, every single one of the countless windows in the buildings were well depicted.
Night-time, with its low light, is a tough environment for photography. To be able to capture beautiful shots of the nightscape, you need to set the ISO sensitivity as low as possible, and use a tripod so that you can carefully release the shutter. Your images are easily impacted by the performance of the camera and image sensor.
In this respect, night cityscape photography is a strength of the D500, with its wide dynamic range providing for excellent depiction of dark areas. When photographing the factory at night, I was able to express the all-important metallic texture very realistically. However, because the nightscape already has contrast to begin with, setting the Picture Control to “Landscape” can cause your images to have blacked-out and washed-out areas. Hence, to reliably express the textures, instead of using “Landscape”, I used “Standard”, which was just right.
Although it was difficult to focus due to the darkness at night, when I used the focus points that were arranged across almost the whole of the screen in the viewfinder, the camera focused properly every time for this shoot. In Live View, even dark areas were displayed with astonishing reliability, which is optimal when you want to properly check the composition, not to mention when shooting in low positions where it was previously difficult to shoot using the viewfinder.
Unlike in the intense light of the daytime, night cityscapes let you encounter subjects that appear before you as a result of the lights of various colours and your shooting angles. Why not make use of long exposure when shooting such scenes and try discovering a whole other world full of colour.
Born in December 1978, Kobayashi’s photographs often explore the theme of alternate worlds in our midst, featuring subjects such as abandoned buildings, factories, and megastructures. He also covers a wide range of genres, such as aerial shooting using drones, portraits, and school photographs. In addition to taking photos, he writes for camera magazines, lectures at photography events held in various locations, and runs courses about plant photography.