Scrap the settings! Nightshots shouldnt be 1/2 secs, tune it up to like 2secs-16secs for this kind of lightings and aperature above 8. That explains why this pic is a bit soft and use a tripod, persinally I'd like to capture it in a diff angle like from the bench's point of view etc.
Oh well, what do I know keke.
Good try for a newbie. You must be pretty excited to see the shot .
Here's some suggestions you may want to consider to improve your night shots:
a) Use a tripod. Yeah, it's kinda burdensome lugging those 3 legged creatures around but what to do? If possible, get a cable release too so that you don't shake the cam when you press the shutter.
b) Since you are shooting pics that require overall sharpness, try to keep the aperture smaller, say 5.6 or 8. But keep the speed 1 to 2 sec if possible else you will see a lot of noise in the pics. You can increase the ASA to say 400 to 800 if you want to keep the noise under control.
c) Watch the color balance. You pic is too warm, especially in the tungsten lighting. But if you shoot RAW, you can control this during post-processing.
d) Take many shots of the same scene varying the exposure so that you have better chances of getting a good shot. In night exposure, there is no one exposure rule. Experiment, experiment and experiment.
e) Watch the horizon.Your shot is a bit slanted but this can be easily corrected.
yeah... TRIPOD, number 1 important thing for night photography (at least thats wat i think). and try to stop your aperture down to between f/8 to f/11 for overall sharpness (i learnt this from a CSer). yeah, i believe thats all.