Shooting Challenge: Night and Day

Tonight is a full moon. And whether you live in the country or the city, it's as good a time as any for this week's Shooting Challenge: You'll take a picture at night, but you'll make it look like day.

The Challenge

Take a photo at night. Make it look bright and colorful, like day.

The Method

Get a tripod and a chair, because you're going to need to suck a lot of light out of that night sky to make this work, which requires a long exposure—like a few minutes. But a full moon can make it easier, as it can technically put out as much light as very dim sunlight.


The exact plan for exposure can be tough to pinpoint and may require some fiddling...and living in a city can only confound your calculations. I'd highly recommend reading through this flickr board. It won't take long, and it was the inspiration for this contest.

One member claims "ISO 100, 1 hour @ f/8" is the key. Of course, cranking your ISO will allow for a shorter exposure. And every step up in ISO essentially doubles your sensor's light-gulping abilities.


At ISO 200, that same should take about 30 minutes. AT ISO 400, you're at 15. At ISO 800 you're down to about 7 minutes and at ISO 1600 you're way down in 3-minute territory. Needless to say, results will vary!

But those who have experience in this technique should definitely share their wisdom in the comments, as even our lead shot doesn't quite follow these guidelines.


The Example

Our top photo is by Lawrence Andrade. It's a 150-second exposure, f/4, ISO 200 with a Nikon D70s. You can see more of his work here.



1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 930px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Monday, January 24th at 8AM Eastern to with "Day" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameDay.jpg (960px wide) and FirstnameLastnameDayWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

For the last six months, I've been working on a very exciting project called Philanthroper, which is now accepting beta testers. Sign up to help us build something that could change everything.


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