Long shutter speeds
With the long exposures needed for Dusk and Night Photography, anything which moves is likely to be blurred. With longer shutter speeds, the moving item leaves a record of the distance it travels while the shutter was open. The longer the exposure, the longer the distance traveled. 'Matrix' or 'Evaluative' metering is usually best for these types of shots.
In 'Programme' mode, the camera will usually give you shutters of 1/2 or 1 second. This is because the camera is trying to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible (it thinks it needs to prevent camera shake, even if you are on a tripod). These speeds are usually too slow to allow the light trails from cars to run right through your shot (Image 1, above).
Aperture Priority Mode
To get the trails going all the way through your image, you will need at least 3 seconds (Image 2, left). Aperture Priority mode is a good option here, as it will let you choose an aperture that gives you the shutter speed you need, while still keeping a correct exposure. Make sure the shutter number is not saying 'Lo' or is flashing, this means you probably will have an underexposed shot. You might need to choose a slower shutter increase the ISO to help bring more light in.
Using the self-timer will leave you having to guess 10 seconds or 2 seconds ahead of when the traffic actually starts to come into the shot, so a cable release is vital.
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