This is where your inner film maker, meets your outer Kubrick! And don’t forget your Jacket, Flask and Umbrella!
There are many fabulous photographers who get the tripod out, set the shutter speed to 2 and a half hours, and catch the reflection of the stars in a circle, as the earth dizzies itself, spinning around the Sun. And I’m sure these same people can shoot the night sky in the North Pole, but before you try and take shot of the year, you really need to get back to basics.
To start with, forget about what you were thought in photography class, about exposure, ISO and aperture. The three Kings and Queens of our world are different, they are the Wind, the Sky and the Light, in no particular order.
First things first, is it windy?
Why does this matter? Well wind can affect currents if strong enough, and it always creates ripples. Very rarely will you get a dead calm piece of water on a City River, in day or in night.
A completely calm flat piece of water can be like glass. So the weather forecast is your friend or your enemy here. Having said this some light ripples create the shimmering affect, and this can be nice.
Next is the darkness above your head. It’s very important to either use the clouds as your friend, or pick a clear blue day, with a clear black evening.
Nothing offers a better backdrop to the shimmering early Autumn strobes on the wavy oil slick below your position. Just make sure you are a safe distance from any water.
Always make sure you know the direction of the wind and where the clouds are coming from. If you are after a clear shot in a bright area with no clouds again the forecast is your friend.
City lights reflect off the sky and make staring in to the night difficult, however the further out from civilisation you are, the better the backdrop will be.
However, the lights in the city can also be a blessing. Use them where possible to highlight your subject, such as a boat below, or a statue or person or vehicle.
Again try to avoid flare and make sure you check your photos as you take them. You may get the perfect night, but take a terrible picture.