APOY 2011 Round Ten - Shooting at Night - night and low-light photography

APOY 2011 Round Ten ? Shooting at Night

APOY 2011 Round Ten ? Shooting at Night

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 25 November 2011

Welcome to the final round in this year?s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Canon. Over the past few months the judges have been blown away by the quality of images received, so thanks to everyone who has entered. There are still some fantastic Canon prizes to be won, including the overall prize of £5,000-worth of Canon camera equipment and the coveted title of Amateur Photographer of the Year.

For this month?s theme photographers should focus on shooting at night or in low-light conditions. From twinkling cityscapes to starry skies in the country, the judges will award points for imaginative images that are technically well executed and that heed the brief, but at the same time avoid the most obvious subjects and themes. The winner of round ten will receive a Canon EOS 60D with a Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens worth a total of £1,299.99. With its 18-million-pixel, APS-C sensor and standard ISO range of 100-6400, extendable to 12,800, the EOS 60D is an excellent camera for capturing high levels of detail with minimal noise in low-light conditions.


photo by Mat Gallagher
The closing date for round ten is 25 November 2011. The top three winners will each receive a fantastic Canon camera and the top 30 highest scoring images will be published in our Christmas issue (24-31 December.) The scores from the top 50 images will be posted on our website.

Information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY home page. Remember to use your full name as the file name and don?t forget to paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry to us electronically. Please also include a sentence explaining where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens you used. Most importantly, don?t forget to include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win.

It is ironic that for a theme involving shooting under the cover of darkness, light is the biggest asset. Although daylight may have faded, there will be a plethora of artificial lights ? especially if you are shooting in a city or town environment ? that you can incorporate into your image. Car trails are the obvious example, with streetlights and light from buildings or billboards just a few other possible sources. Alternatively, you could venture out during the twilight hours to see if you can create an impacting image that combines both traces of ambient light in the sky and artificial lights as they start to switch on.

As ever, your choice of subject is important, so don?t just settle for the usual suspects. As you walk around during the day, look carefully at what?s around you and try to imagine how the scene might look at night. Areas to consider include your choice of shooting angle, time of evening or night for the shoot and equipment required. Safety is paramount: if you are shooting late at night, remember to keep yourself and your belongings safe. Scoping out the location is key to ensuring a successful safe shoot.

1st prize

The winner of round ten will receive Canon?s 18-million-pixel EOS 60D with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens worth a total of £1,299.99. With its 18-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor and standard ISO range of 100-6400, extendable to 12,800, the EOS 60D captures high levels of detail with minimal noise in low-light conditions. A nine-point autofocus (AF) system provides swift and accurate focusing, while the 7.7cm (3in) vari-angle wide LCD monitor offers added flexibility, allowing photographers to view their images in incredible detail from a variety of angles. The EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is an ideal general-purpose standard zoom that provides great performance in low-light conditions.

2nd prize

The second-placed winner will receive Canon?s brand-new PowerShot S100 (in black) worth £439. The 12.1-million-pixel PowerShot S100 uses Canon?s latest DIGIC 5 processor, which, when combined with the camera?s high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, allows you to shoot high-quality images with low noise in low light up to ISO 6400. The 5x zoom f/2 lens has a focal length of 5.2-26mm (24-120mm equivalent), while other features include raw, GPS and full HD (1080p) movies at 24fps.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s new 12.1-million-pixel IXUS 230 HS (in silver) worth £229. This slim IXUS has a 28mm 8x optical zoom lens, full HD (1080p) movies and Smart Auto. The camera?s HS System excels in low light, enabling you to capture atmospheric images without a flash or a tripod, while the combination of Canon?s DIGIC 4 processor and high-sensitivity sensor help produce great images in all situations.

Why not try?

Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started


photo by Tim Coleman

Exposure

When it comes to ensuring that your image is accurately exposed, night and low-light photography require just as much attention as shooting during the day. There may be sufficient light from artificial sources for you to use a fairly short shutter speed, but you may need to use longer exposures, perhaps of several seconds or even minutes if you are shooting in very dark conditions. Metering is key and you may need to use exposure compensation. Watch out, too, for colour casts ? choose your white balance setting carefully and be prepared to adjust the colour balance afterwards if you are shooting raw files. The higher ISO setting you use, the more noise you will get in your image, so bear this in mind when deciding your camera settings.


photo by Tim Coleman

Composition

Shooting at night doesn?t mean the composition of your image is any less important. Glittering lights, illuminations and car trails are all very well, but unless you take time to frame your shot carefully your image is likely to lack focus or, worse, confuse the viewer entirely. When surveying a scene, think about what would make a strong main subject and how surrounding elements could be incorporated into the frame. You could consider using leading lines or try framing your shot to accentuate graphic shapes if appropriate. You may need to use a tripod or rest your camera on a ledge or similar for support.


photo by Mat Gallagher

Lens Choice And Viewpoint

Think about what you are trying to convey in your image before setting out on your shoot. If you want to convey the expanse of the city, for example, a wideangle lens will allow you to include as much information as possible. Conversely, you may prefer to pick out a single detail in the scene or perhaps use a telephoto lens to compress the perspective for effect. The viewpoint you choose will also impact upon the final look of your image, so why not try shooting upwards or from a high angle looking out across the view.

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 25 November 2011

In association with Canon