I prefer to shoot images in low-light situations. These images tend have big contrasts in light and dark areas which can give quite dramatic effects. Shooting in low light conditions is more challenging then shooting in bright and sunny conditions. The same basic rules apply for both low light conditions and daytime though. The aperture determines how much light enters through the lens and the shutter speed and ISO setting determine the exposure. In low-light conditions you typically shoot with your lens wide open. For most professional lenses this will be an f/2.8 or f/4 setting. The shutter speed in combination with the ISO setting is then used to get the correct exposure. Since a minimal amount of light is available in low light photography, you usually shoot at slow shutter speeds (1/30 – 1/200sec). The ISO setting can be used to control the shutter speed. I usually shoot at 3200-6400 ISO to ensure that I get fast enough shutter times.
Low light photography is typically done at night, or dusk using either flashlights or spotlights. I never use a flash in any of my low light photography. I set my camera to full manual setting, dial in the largest aperture (f/2.8 or f/4 depending on which lens I’m using), set my ISO to 3200 and my shutter speed to 1/125sec. It is then a matter of shooting some test shots and keeping an eye on the histogram on the camera to check exposure.
The best places for low light photography are private lodges and camps. I’ve shot amazing low light images of Genets, Honey Badgers and African Wild Cats inside camps in the Kruger National Park. If you’re after low light images of leopards and lions then your best option is a private lodge.