This moonlight photo would never have worked the old way Southern Living shot images. Want to know why?
With film, details in shadowed areas weren’t revealed before the bright areas were burned out or overexposed. That resulted in images with too much contrast to reproduce in the magazine. And the colors in those images would shift in strange but not desirable ways. With the digital cameras we now use there has been a subtle but exciting shift in what’s possible. Long exposures under low or even extremely low light levels now are easy as long as you have a tripod.
If you’re technically minded, this shot was taken with a Canon 5D and a 50mm lens almost two hours after sunset. My ISO was 800 and the exposure was 10 seconds at an aperture of f.11. I tried several exposures up to 30 seconds and the colors and brightness in the shadows remained spot on.
If you have a digital camera and a tripod, don’t be afraid to try long exposure photographs at night. You might surprise yourself. And at worst, you always have a delete button.