So, can you shoot a landscape at night? Absolutely, I did that before in Photographing a lunar eclipse as you may remember. The obvious limitation here is, of course, available light, so let’s check what tools we have at our disposal to deal with low light:
- Maximum lens aperture
- Shutter speed
Usually, in landscape photography you aim to shoot at the lens’ sweet spot or to pick an even smaller aperture (higher f-stop) to get more depth of field (DOF) or to produce certain effects, such as a starburst, for example. Shooting at maximum aperture is a no-go, because lenses perform poorly wide open (soft, chromatic aberrations, shallow depth of field etc.). However, if the moon, the stars or the Milky Way is our main subject we don’t actually care about depth of field at all, here’s why: If we focus at the hyperfocal distance H, every subject at distance
will be within the depth of field. Let’s presume I was going to shoot the Milky Way with my AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm/2.8G ED at 14mm and maximum aperture, then my hyperfocal distance is
(check, for example, Photopills DOF Calculator). So, unless I was planning on including a foreground object, I should be fine just focusing at infinity.