Night street photography can be extremely rewarding especially if you choose the early part of the evening when there is still some light left in the sky. And if you happen to be near water, a river or a lake, then you have even more opportunities!
The image below was a grab shot (not the same as a snap shot), made on the move as I walked along the east bank of the River Garonne in Bordeaux.
The light was fading fast, and I had my camera in hand set to shutter speed priority (TV or Time Value) so that I could react as quickly as possible to the changing scene.
People were wandering about in a relaxed fashion. It was not quite time for the evening meal, the time when leisurely strollers are attracted out of doors.
Click on the above image to enlarge it
The shot above was taken at 1/640 second which was pretty fast, and the ISO was 100, which was pretty low! I could have upped the ISO a bit and suffered (or enjoyed, depending on your point of view) the extra digital noise. This would have given me a crisper outline to the silhouette.
So, life ain't perfect and very often photographs aren't perfect either. But I like the result and I think the slightly soft focus adds to the atmosphere - or am I justifying my choices? Well, whichever way you look at it, I like the shot, particularly the light shining through the bottle and bringing out the green of the glass, and the gesture of the hand - clearly there is a story being told - I would love to have heard it!
So don't think that you have to have bucket loads of daylight to make good shots. All you need is interesting light and often that happens at either end of the day. With water around, such as a river, which is calm enough to give some reflections, you can make some good shots even with a hand-held camera. Just set the dial to TV, choose a fairly high shutter speed such as 1/125 or higher, and hit the streets.
Follow this link if you are interested in reading more night street photography tips.