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Capturing night images with Dr. Chris Brown

Dr. Chris Brown reveals how he created stars of his own in this stunning photograph he shot by the captivating light of a campfire.

A campfire is a pretty special way to end the day and I can use the camera to tell a story and really make the most of the really unique light.

When you look around at the light on offer during a campfire, there’s a couple of things that really jump out: it’s the glow of the light off the faces of the people, the hot coals popping out and also the flames flickering around. A perfect shot would be combining those three into the one image and with this one I have tried to capture the essence of mates catching up around a fire and the good times from that.

For a shot like this, you need to move away from the fire just a little bit because it’s pretty much dark out. It is important to let a lot of light in with a longer exposure time. This will ensure that the image is a good one.

So drop your aperture right down and make sure that your ISO doesn’t go too high otherwise you'll get a bit of grain to the shot. And aim for an exposure time of around about 4 or 5 seconds. I've used an aperture of f/3.2, speed of 5.2” and and ISO of 400 for this shot.

What I love about this shot is that there were no stars out and it was cloudy early in the evening, but somehow through those sparks flying into the air I was able to create stars of my own.

Later in the evening the stars came out and I managed to capture this great image of friends around the campfire. For this image, I upped the ISO to 1000, opened up the aperture to f/2.8 to let as much light in as possible and then increased the exposure time to 30 seconds...asking everyone to keep as still as possible!

Just remember to use a tripod if you've got one or set your camera up on something solid and use the time delay setting so that you minimise any camera shake.

Watch the next video with Chris: capturing portraits.

Image of friends around a campfire taken by Dr Chris Brown
Image of friends around a campfire with sparks flying by Dr Chris Brown
Image of stars and friends around a campfire taken by Dr Chris Brown
Image credit: Dr Chris Brown, taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
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