Night Photography with the right equipment is a subject that is enjoyable, especially when viewing the results. One reason why it is not suited for everyone is staying out late in the evening, especially in the summer months when darkness does not fall until very late. An ideal time is during winter when the night draws in earlier. However, it is at this time (winter) that the weather is at it’s worst. Heavy rainfall, icy cold weather & the prospect of not catching any stars due to heavy cloud cover will all be a significant factor.
Not every single winter evening is like this though. When the opportunity of a calm evening occurs in winter, which happens not very often, this is usually the best time. Towns & cities typically provide the best scene with evening rush hour traffic creating light trails for long exposures which can also look particularly pleasing for time-lapse photography. Choosing the location is down to the user.
Below is a list of accessories that can help to make your evening a little more pleasant. Also included is equipment for your camera to help ensure the life of the body or lens is unnecessarily shortened. Dew & rain from the evening can damage your kit, so protection is a high priority. Using equipment during winter is not the best time so looking after your apparatus as best as possible ensures you can carry on using it in the future.
The most critical piece of equipment to carry along for an evening of photography. As the scenes will be too dark for handheld pictures at low iso. A tripod will help to expose for any length of time without suffering from shake or wobble. Having a robust, sturdy tripod capable of taking a breeze is best especially if in open areas.
Shutter Release Button/Intervalometer
A shutter release button is a handy accessory to help eliminate the need to press the shutter button on a camera. Many, if not all cameras these days have a function to take a picture with a delay. Usually set at ten seconds, it can be handy to use. One obstacle is using bulb mode & the shutter button on the camera. It is near impossible to get a shake free picture. By using an external shutter button, you can extend the shutter time well beyond the maximum shutter time on cameras (usually thirty seconds).
Another great piece of equipment is an intervalometer. With an intervalometer, you can program many functions via the intervalometer for your camera such as taking images every ten seconds, countdown timer etc. It is a great tool that opens up more possibilities with exposures.
An option to protect a camera & lens from rain & Dew is to purchase a cover. These inexpensive covers can protect your equipment from the elements at the worst of times. Even if a camera is defined as being waterproof, it does not mean it will be able to spend a couple of hours in the wet. Protect your equipment!
A simple lens cloth is an excellent accessory to wipe any dew building up on the lens. Make sure it is the type used on lenses with no risk of scratching to the glass.
A lens heater is a brilliant piece of equipment to stop dew building up on your lens. If you plan on spending a few hours in the city or the countryside for astrophotography, then this is a bonus.
It goes without saying that a flashlight is essential for seeing what you are doing a night. Any type will do, even ones for a mobile phone will work.
Depending on how long you spend outside, you may need to bring along some freshly recharged batteries. Vitally crucial for those star trail shots.
Seating is required for those areas where it is not available. Keep one in your car in case there are no benches nearby.
Nice warm clothing is needed in the winter. Make sure you get a good thick coat and jumper to keep yourself warm. Gloves are also essential.
Many other accessories or equipment can also be added depending on your needs. I usually bring a flask and some food depending on how long I spend outside. The choices are yours. Hopefully, I have helped a little by suggesting a few items above to help you.
Where to Buy Accessories & Equipment
There are a lot of places on the web to buy what you need for a pleasant evening. Some are listed below.