For full details how to enter via email go to APOY 2009.

Round 10 Low Light

As the year winds down and the days become shorter, it seems only fitting that for our final round of APOY we should ask you to explore the magical qualities of low-light settings. Longer exposures and soft, glowing light have an inimitable way of transforming even the most average scenes into otherworldly delights.

Perhaps more than any previous round, Low Light asks you to think more closely about how both light and your camera function. It?s been a great year of APOY, and we?ve seen some fantastic images. We have no doubt we?ll see plenty more in this round and when the next APOY competition begins in February next year. Thank you all for your efforts and we look forward to seeing you again in 2010.

As always, we would like to remind you that you must include your address and details of your image in your email entry so we can judge your photograph accurately. Without your address and other contact details, we cannot reach you in the event that you win.

Low light can at first seem like a photographer?s nightmare, but with an open mind and an even wider aperture those pre- and post-golden hours can prove to be a creative goldmine for imagery. Working at slower shutter speeds and high ISOs is always daunting as you run the risk of camera shake and noise, but the great thing about low-light photography is its element of surprise. Low-light photography throws conventionality out the window, as you never quite know exactly how a picture will turn out. Low-light settings are thus great opportunities to experiment with your camera.

If landscapes are your forte, you could grab your tripod and capture the warm colours of sunrise and sunset. You might try a soft, dark portrait or an abstract still life. Likewise, birds are known for their early hours, and crepuscular mammals can make interesting subjects as they go about what is their day. Traffic, city lights, star trails and road crews? there are myriad subjects at your disposal.

To help get you started, we?ve listed some things to remember.


When working in low light you will need to somehow account for the lack of ambient light. Perhaps the easiest way is to increase the sensitivity of your camera?s image sensor by setting a higher ISO. On your DSLR, anywhere between ISO 400 and 1600 should give you more flexibility to shoot handheld without any supplementary light.

Another option is to use flash, but remember that subtlety, as always, is key. Try putting your flash on its slow-sync setting so your flash fires briefly to light your foreground and take in ambient lighting from the background for a more natural, even exposure.

Lens and aperture

The wider your focal length, the longer you will be able to handhold your camera. The general rule is that the slowest shutter speed at which you can handhold will match your focal length. For instance, this street scene was shot at a focal length of 28mm and handheld for 1/30sec. And, of course, the larger the aperture you can use                                                                                           at longer focal lengths, the                                                                                           faster the shutter speeds                                                                                           available.


Ironically, one of the best times to take night-time shots is when there is still a bit of daylight.

A completely black sky is often dull, but during that small window just after the sun has set and some daylight remains, the residual light casts a warm glow throughout the sky and illuminates the trees, buildings or people below.

1st Prize

Our first-place winner will receive Canon?s 15.1MP EOS 500D, worth £789.99. The lucky winner will benefit from continuous shooting at up to 3.4fps with up to 170 JPEG burst, as well as nine-point AF and a high ISO of 12,800, making it ideal for low-light conditions.

The EOS 500D boasts a 3in Clear View LCD with Live View mode and the ability to record High Definition videos. The winner will also receive Canon?s EF 28mm 1.8 USM, worth £539.99. With a 75° diagonal angle of view, it can provide excellent                                                                                     background blur or sharpness edge                                                                                      to edge

2nd Prize

Our second-place winner will receive Canon?s Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II printer, worth £499. The Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II produces professional-quality prints at sizes from 10x13cm up to A3+ and 14x17in with Gloss, Matte, Fine Art, Canvas and Board support. Its eight inks allow for a wide colour gamut, while the printer?s Ambient Light Correction function ensures you get the results you want. Included is a packet of Canon?s PT-101 A4 Photo Paper Pro Platinum paper, worth £15.99

3rd Prize

Our third-place winner will receive the 12.1MP Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, worth £159, which uses Scene Detection, Face Detection and Motion Detection to optimise settings and ensure great results. Other features include a 4x optical zoom, Digic 4, VGA movie capability and a 2.5in LCD with and optical viewfinder for framing shots.

For full details how to enter via email go to APOY 2009.

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