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FuelBooks Urban and Street Photography Tip: Shooting in the Dark

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Todd Sipes, author of Urban Exploration Photography: A Guide to Shooting Abandoned Places, shares some tips on shooting well and safely in an urban environment.

Fuel Books

From the book

"Shooting in the dark is perhaps the most difficult part about shooting UrbEx. More often than not, we are in very dark places, which are notoriously difficult to capture. Using a tripod is typically mandatory, so you have a few choices in terms of capturing a scene. Keeping yourself safe in these places is hard enough, so I’m providing a quick-and-dirty guide to getting great shots. I’ve tried all of these methods, and while there’s no “right way,” there is certainly a best way given your environment and time restrictions.

You have three choices for shooting in the dark: light painting, using a small f/high ISO, or using an intervalometer. Lighting your shots artificially can ruin a scene’s natural ambience, but it can also add a cool effect in a time crunch. Compensating for the darkness by shooting at low f-stop and high ISO is by far the most efficient method to capturing a scene if you’re limited on time, but you will sacrifice overall picture quality. Using an intervalometer is the best way to capture a scene with its natural ambience and in the highest quality possible, but I only recommend this method if time is of no concern."

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