In Montréal. Last night!

Montreal, 9 Oct 2010

Montreal, 8 Oct 2010

Taken at 800 ISO, 1/30th sec, f/1.7.

Because of the fast (f/1.7) 20mm lens on the Lunix camera I was able to shoot at 800 ISO. Had I had a regular point and shoot, I would have had to shoot at a higher ISO speed, much higher.

Here’s another one:

Montreal at night, 8 Oct 2010

Montreal at night, 8 Oct 2010

So the tips for today are:

  • Use a tripod if possible.
  • If not, then open your aperture as wide as you can.
  • And go to a wide angle if you can.
  • Use exposure compensation if needed, usually -1 to -2 stop. Ensure the black sky is black.
  • Go to a high enough ISO so you get a reasonable shutter speed.
  • Hold still.
  • Shoot multiple times.
  • Select the best shots!

And above all: bring the camera. And have fun.


Always carry your camera, even at night.

I just got back from teaching, after an executive portrait shoot this morning.

But I want to talk not about light, but about lack of light. And how when it gets dark, you do not put away your camera. Like I carried mine, just the other night in Montreal:

Montreal, night scene, handheld photo by Michael Willems

Montreal, night scene, handheld (Aug 2010)

Montreal, night scene, handheld photo by Michael Willems

Montreal, Rue Hutchison, Aug 2010

Montreal, "The Shining", handheld photo by Michael Willems

Montreal, "The Shining", handheld

All those were handheld shots.

Tips for those:

  • Hold the camera steady!
  • Use a wide lens, since they are more forgiving of motiong
  • Make it a fast one the fastest you can get (I used a 16-35mm f/2.8 on a full-frame camera);
  • Use a high ISO if handheld (but low if using a tripod);
  • Expose down 1-2 stops (use manual, or use aperture mode and Exposure Compensation “minus”) ;
  • Shoot multiple times to make sure!

If you do it that way, it is easy. And you will be happy with your images.


I just got back from The Distillery District, where today we opened the second ever showing of “IV”. It is raining tonight:

That’s Av and two stops negative exposure compensation, and 5,000 ISO. Here’s another one:

I took this handheld. That meant:

  • Aperture mode
  • Minus two stops exposure compensation.
  • Because of the darkness and the lack of a support I used high ISO of 5,000.
  • This gave me 1/15th second at f/5.6 (I wanted depth of field).
  • The lens was a 16mm lens on a Canon 1D Mark IV, crop factor 1.3, so really 16×1.3 = 21mm.
  • Finally – because it was hand held, I took five or six shots.

Now relaxing a bit… tomorrow, teaching Flash at Henry’s in Oakville, and Monday a PPOC guest appearance at Fanshawe College in London.