Well, I have to admit night photography is definitely a different kettle of fish to normal day-light photography... and I think what makes it that little more difficult is the use of a tripod - especially a new one.
Tonight I went to Point Walter Golf Course and tried to take some shots of the clear setting sun which turned out okay, and then I skittled along the river to Heathcote to take some shots of the city lights at night.
The best thing a like about night photography is the ability to play around with shutter speed the most. Taking a photo that is exposed for more than a second. And it was good having a ferry pass by as I was taking shots of the Perth skylight.
Anyway, here were some of tonights snaps...
The one thing I liked about the 40D tonight was the little LCD screen found underneath the shutter button. I didn't really think that was going to be of much use when using this camera, but when you're using a tripod it helps *heaps* as it saves you needing to bend down, look through the viewfinder, press the shutter button half way down (etc) to see what shutter speed and aperture settings have been set. With the LCD screen you just push on the light button and then you can see all your settings - definitely an awesome feature!!
I suppose one gripe that I found when taking shots at night was that when I was taking shots of the moon the camera wouldn't allow me to take a shot because it failed to pick up the object (as the moon wasn't in the middle of the shot where I've instructed the camera's settings to only use the center focus point to focus). Now, initially I moved the tripod so that the camera could focus on the moon, then after setting the tripod back down I took the shot, but I found this to be quite irritating and obviously the stupidest way of doing things!
The solution was to actually take the lens off auto-focus, and switch it to manual focus! While this meant playing around with the focus ring it ended up being better because I could then use the live-view which helped pinpoint exactly what I wanted focused by using the 10x zoom!
So in very low light conditions, if the focus point(s) are very very dark then you might bump into this problem with the 40D. Either change your focus points (don't use one specific point), or switch to live-view/manual focus mode.
Night photography definitely tests your camera and your tripod I'll give you that - you'll want to make sure you've got a good set if you enjoy taking night shots! I don't think I'd be in a hurry to buy another cheap tripod again.
But I'm glad some shots ended up turning out okay.