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Inspirations >> Photos & People

Night landscape photography with Keith Liew


While most of us are fast asleep, Keith Liew captures breathtaking night landscapes that tell a different kind of story – the magical experience of a time when the sun sets and disappears, and creates visuals away from other landscape photographers.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 25sec, 20mm, ISO3200
Rinjani Night Sky, Lombok, Indonesia

Hi Keith! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from Penang, Malaysia but currently based in Singapore. I started my journey into the world of photography some five years ago with my first DSLR camera, the EOS 550D. While I do shoot landscapes at night, astrophotography is my passion.

How did you get started in night landscape photography?

I first fell in love with night landscape photography after watching a couple of time-lapse videos by Dustin Farrell, professional videographer and landscape photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. His videos sparked my interest and inspired me to pursue landscape and astrophotography.

Learn the basics of astrophotography in the article: Introduction to Astrophotography - A Beginner’s Guide

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 20sec, 16mm, ISO3200
The Arch, Cameron Highland, Malaysia

How important is lighting?

The quality of light is perhaps the most important factor affecting the success of a night landscape photograph. Personally I like to shoot with natural lighting during the golden hour or blue hour. Moonlight can sometimes be your best friend, as it helps to brighten the foreground instead of having to boost your ISO.

Find out what it takes to capture amazing photos of the night sky in the article: Astrophotography: An Interview with Mark Gee

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 20sec, 16mm, ISO3200
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Where has night landscape photography has taken you and which one is your favourite?

I have travelled to different countries, but one of my favourites is New Zealand. The journey itself was interesting and at the same time, the country has many beautiful landscapes and dark skies.

In fact, it was during my trip to New Zealand in October when I was fortunate enough to shoot the Milky Way and Aurora Australis in a single frame. It’s considered to be a lucky shot as the Southern Lights are a rare sight, as compared to the Northern Lights.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 25sec, 16mm, ISO3200
Starry Australis, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Which photographers do you look up to?

There are a few, namely Jimmy Chin (photographer, documentary filmmaker), Paul Zizka (mountain landscape and adventure photographer) and Chris Burkard (explorer and photographer). They constantly inspire me to go out there and shoot more.

What’s in your camera bag when you go for night shoots?

I try to keep it simple - just a tripod, remote shutter, a wide angle lens and my EOS 6D.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/13, 25sec, 16mm, ISO100
Christmas at Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

Do you have a favourite lens?

I love the EF16-35mm f/2.8 L USM II lens. It is very wide, and at the same time it has a great zoom capability when I need a close up shot. Canon is doing a good job in chromatic aberration for this lens. A constant f/2.8 maximum aperture allows the lens to capture more light during my astrophotography shoots.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/13, 10sec, 16mm, ISO100
City of lights, Singapore

Which camera gear would you love to work with?

EOS 5D Mark IV with EF14mm f/2.8L II USM lens and EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. I am constantly aiming for better details and sharpness in my photos. With the new 30.4m resolution on this camera, it is definitely something I’m looking forward to.

Is there anything else you would really like to photograph?

I’m currently exploring wildlife and aerial photography, two genres that I find really fascinating.

Discover more about astrophotography here: Astrophotography: Tips & Tricks to Get Started


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Photographer Profile

Keith Liew

About 80 per cent of the Earth’s population today have never witnessed a clear view of the Milky Way. I’m fortunate to be among the 20 per cent to have seen it with my own eyes. I am a landscape and astrophotographer who loves capturing photos at night. I feel lucky to be able to travel and to be inspired by the people around me. The most valuable thing is to share my experiences and inspire people to go out and shoot.