Embrace the dark

With longer nights, it's a great time to get out and about with your Canon camera, discovering the fun of shooting in the dark.

At night the world looks very different, creating lots of opportunities to take photos. PowerShot and IXUS cameras have a range of simple settings that will help you take the best photo. If you have an EOS, PowerShot SX, S or G series then there's a lot more to experiment with, starting with the shutter speed.

Get support
Your camera's shutter has to stay open longer at night when there is very little light. A tripod helps you stabilise the camera when experimenting with long shutter speeds, but if you want to travel light then find a convenient wall or tree to rest against. Even better, put your camera on it.

Firework burst, © Catherine Williams, Canon IXUS 105

Fireworks are one of the most popular night scenes. Many PowerShot and IXUS cameras have a 'Fireworks' feature that sets up your camera. This opens the shutter for more than a second to capture the light trails. If you have an EOS, PowerShot SX, S or G series, you can also switch to Tv on the Mode Dial and start with a shutter speed of 5 - 10 seconds.

Use the lights around you
In towns, lights will often become the hero of your picture. Try photographing neon signs, illuminations and floodlit buildings. Fairground rides make great subjects at night; they are brightly lit with a mixture of moving and stationary elements.

A time to reflect
Reflections work well in night shots. As well as creating interesting effects, they add light to your photos. They can come from puddles after it has rained or the glass in buildings. Look out for reflections and use them to get as much light into your photo as you can.

Extend the night
A great time of 'day' to shoot night photos is actually just after sunset and just before sunrise. At these times, the sky has beautiful colours that can complement your night scene perfectly.

Time and water, © Simon Skipper Christiansen, Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Paint a light picture
You can use a torch to draw a light picture. Alternatively, create an impression of movement using the headlights of cars on a road. These effects are created by keeping the camera shutter open for several seconds. Use the 'Long Shutter' setting on PowerShot and IXUS cameras to do this. 5 seconds is a good place to start but part of the fun is trying longer and shorter, then seeing which looks best. On an EOS, PowerShot SX, S or G series, try switching to Tv on the Mode Dial. For more details check out this video.

Looking down at night onto the town where you live makes it look very different. As well as 'Long Shutter' setting, which will need a tripod, try out the 'Handheld Night Scene' setting. This lets you capture a nightscape whilst holding your camera in the normal way.

On the next page you'll discover some simple techniques to make the most of your night subjects, including how to avoid blur.

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