Explorers Connect

Photography in the Wild

Wild Night OutWild Night Out

by Tim Mellor

Whether you’re a first time Wild Night Outer or an experienced wild camper, you’ll probably be thinking of sharing your experiences with your family and friends on social media or maybe a blog or website.

Whichever medium you choose, there is nothing like a few good photographs to impress your friends and convey the spirit of wild adventuring you have experienced.


Nearly everyone now possesses a smart phone and the quality of the cameras on them has developed exponentially in the last few years. Phones currently on the market now have full HD, low light capability, automatic rendering and infinite storage capacity. In fact they are so good, it’s quite difficult to take a bad photo with them, drunken selfies on a night out with your idiot mates excepted.

Your computer will also have some form of basic photo editing capability whereby you can automatically correct, crop and retouch photos before you upload them to your Facebook page or blog site. If you want to get really technical with the editing there is Photoshop, but this is eye wateringly expensive to buy and not easy for the non professional to use. Personally, I use Smart Photo Editor, which is relatively inexpensive and very user friendly.


If you decide to shoot video, then your mobile should have acceptable video capability, but if you want to take it up to the next level, there are the action cams. Top end of the market are the GoPro’s but there are many more less expensive versions available on the market, perhaps with a little less functionality but perfectly good HD picture quality. I use a TecBean2 action cam.

If you’re using your smart phone to shoot video then make sure you shoot in landscape format. Every time you see someone’s mobile footage on TV, they’ve always got the phone held upright and you can’t have failed to notice how rubbish it looks.


Something to bear in mind if you are new to video recording is that you will need to shoot approximately one hour of video for every minute of the finished product. By the time you’ve finished cutting out the shaky bits, bad framing and shots of the sky or your feet, there’s not a lot left. It’s also worth spending a few quid on a decent video editing package such as Wondershare Filmora. The basic video editing package that usually comes ready installed on your computer will generally be worse than useless and the free to download ones aren’t much better. So if you intend to be the next YouTube sensation, then decent video editing software is a good investment!


If you are wanting to take photos of wonderful starlit skies then you are going to need a tripod mounted DSLR that shoots in manual, raw, and bulb mode, preferably with a remote control so you don’t have to touch the camera. I use an Olympus E-410, one of the smallest, lightest DSLRs on the market, which is also a useful consideration when backpacking too.

Night time photography is a vast subject and there are so many variables, but for shooting starry skies I’d suggest trying the following settings for starters: set focus to infinity, exposure time 8 seconds or slightly more, f/2.8, ISO 1600 or more and noise filter on.

For moonlit landscapes, your camera settings should be exposure time of 2 minutes, f/16 and ISO 1600.

A good DSLR will also come with a series of presets for low light and/or candlelight portrait settings and you can get amazing shots of your friends faces lit up by a single low light source. Being as you are wild camping, you won’t be lighting camp fires of course!

So go for it and let’s see all your adventures on social media, don’t worry if your photos or videos aren’t amazing, it’s the recording and sharing of your adventures.

By Tim Mellor, WildNightOut contributor

Check out Tim's blog here 


There are so many ways you can go wild at night. Anyone and everyone can take this opportunity to make some amazing memories to treasure forever. To get your imagination going, we’ve gathered together some ideas, stories, and how-to guides to help you design the very best Wild Night Out for you.

Everyone needs a Wild Night Out!