I'm not a very big night shooter, but when a friend asked me if I was interested in meeting up to take some shots in Philadelphia, I immediately agreed. We met up with another photographer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and walked around the area to get some shots of car trails and cityscape reflections in water.
My friends were shooting using the Live Composite feature on their Olympus cameras and encouraged me to give it a try. It was amazing to see the results develop in front of your eyes, especially when shooting car trails. It's especially useful when you are shooting a subject that has a lot of changing light. All you need to do is set up your shot, set how many seconds apart you want the images to be taken, press the shutter and then press the shutter again when you've achieved the exposure you were after. Thanks to Mike and Frank for the tutorial!
I wasn't too pleased with the results of my car trails photos. I was having a little trouble getting the focusing right using Live Composite and I found the headlights of the oncoming traffic to get very white hot and overwhelm the photo. See my image to the right.
I did another composite of the cityscape with an exposure of about 9 minutes. There was some light source that seemed to circle the building which gave the photo a very odd halo look around one of the buildings. I got the start of some star trails and I think a jet was flying in the photo too as you can see the arc of it flying through the air. This photo won't win any awards, but it was cool to see the impact of light on the image.
If you are not comfortable with a particular mode of shooting, don't let that intimidate you from going out and giving it a try anyway. There is always room to experiment with a different technique and you just might like the outcome. I had a fun evening, learned something new, and best of all, I made a new friend!
Here are three additional shots below.