Taking photos during the evening sometimes produces some wonderful results as the extreme contrast between light and dark can contribute into making a stunning photo. However it's very easy to over expose and blow out the highlights in the image. Also shooting with slower shutter speeds (to get the correct exposure) in available light often results in a blurry image. So what should you do?
To ensure that you don't loose detail in the bright areas of the image underexpose by 1-2 stops to ensure that the highlights are usable, then recover the dark areas in Photoshop or another image editing program. Another option is to use the camera's HDR setting. There's a bunch of ways to solve the sharpness problem including using a tripod, setting a high ISO speed on your camera (the drawback though is increased noise in the image), or resting the camera on a firm base (chair, table, ledge, camera bag) and using a remote shutter release or camera timer. The image above was taken using the camera self timer and sitting the camera on a ledge as I didn't have a tripod with me.
There's also various hand held techniques that will improve your chances of capturing a sharp image when shooting with slow shutter speeds. Techniques I've used include steadying the camera against a firm object (light pole, handrail), breathing in and holding your breath while taking the shot or taking a number of shots in rapid succession. One of the shots in the middle of the sequence should be sharp(er).
The images below have been taken with different cameras and lenses and I've used a combination of the techniques described above. If you do decide to take photos of moving vehicles on the highway, just make sure someone else is driving!
Thought for the Day
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo da Vinci
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.