Snapshooting 101 (lesson 2)

Use night mode

The night mode on many digital cameras is signified by the star and moon icon. What this usually does is absorbs the light from the background (e.g. city lights) by keeping the shutter open a bit longer, and then releasing a flash to illuminate the subjects a few feet from the camera, if any.

I use night mode in a variety of ways.

First, I use night mode at night (nagulat ba kayo?). See the photo below of the Esplanade. If I weren’t using the night mode and instead used just the flash, there wouldn’t be much light nor detail in the photo. With night mode, you get softer photos of city lights.

Night mode at night! Sweet, isn't it? Majestic, magical.
Night mode at night! Nice, isn’t it? Majestic, magical, mama mia ….
The Esplanade at Singapore

Second, I use night mode to capture motion. Below, you’ll find a medicine-man-slash-street-performer. He twirls around the large wooden beads like a hoola-hoop. I wanted to capture the movement of the rosary-like hoop. So I put on night mode (even though it was daytime) to keep the shutter open a bit longer than normal mode. The effect is the slight blur of the whirling beads. It was also nice that he had one foot up, so that the photo exudes movement”¦ as if the man was about to fall, but actually is in mid-stride while he twirls the beads. Don’t mind that girl in grey shirt, I wanted the beads on the floor to be in the photo (I should have angled this shot, but that’s not the point here 😉 ).

Capturing motion using night mode
Capturing motion using night mode
At Orchard Road, Singapore

Third, I use night mode when I don’t want to use the flash. Here in a 24-hour Indian mall at Little India (see below), I was attracted by the thousands of colors of textiles used to make Sarees (dresses of Indian women). But I didn’t want to get the attention of the sales clerks with my flash. So I put on night mode and kept my hand still. The colors aren’t as vibrant as when a flash is used. Instead, the colors come out a little “œsunny” colored, as if there was an incandescent bulb nearby. Notice also the roll of cloth at the left. It’s a bit blurred because it was in motion (just like the beads in the previous photo). The roll of cloth was pulled away by the sales clerk who, I thought, would hit me in the head with the roll of cloth.

Don't want to use the flash? Try night mode to light up the photo
Don’t want to use the flash? Try night mode to light up the photo …
At Mustafa Centre, 24 hour tutuban-style mall at Little India, Singapore

But here’s the thing about night mode. Sometimes it comes out dizzy, blurred, sometimes people look like ghosts.

We’ll talk about that in our next class: Night class on using night mode.

(To be continued ulit…. )

ka edong

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  • Ka Edong, what camera are you using for your shots?

  • Olympus. The punggok one, small and handy. it’s my brother’s, tanong ko nga ang model number. …

  • Good read, for those with DSLR camera envy 🙂

  • Heto aking camera specs:

    Olympus C-370
    3.2 Megapixels
    3x optical zoom
    super macro mode
    12MB internal mem
    12MB built-in memory

    rain, I saw you on the mirror project.

    ka edong

  • Ah, that one. I think less than 10k lang sa malls yan, which is a pretty good buy for a digital point-and-shoot. The thing I don’t like about Olympus though is their xD Picture Cards.

    Yeah, I used to post there back when I was the biggest toy camera fan I know 🙂

  • I use the manual exposure of my point-and-shoot kodak cx7330 heavily. But when in a hurry, the night mode always works.

  • Kung night city skyline, di talaga good idea ang flash 🙂 Kasi effective lang ang flash if the subject is within the flash’ range. The best is yung night mode/tripod or some solid ground to place your camera/timer combination nga na sinabi mo hehehe.