Today's camera sensors require very little light to record colors and details.
I noticed this ice-covered marker while walking on the South Pier off Silver Beach in Saint Joseph, Michigan. It was well after sunset and I could barely see the structure! I attempted to auto-focus by positioning the focus point on one of the blinking red lights at the top of the marker. I used the Nikon D800's Virtual Horizon feature to level the camera since I could barely see the horizon.
For exposure, I selected a middle aperture of f/8 to ensure that the pier marker would be sharp. I had to boost my ISO to a manageable 400 to keep the shutter speed at 30 seconds. As always, I set the camera for Mirror Lock Up and used a cable release to trigger the shutter without risking vibration. And, I set the Long Exposure Noise Reduction to ON to minimize any noise that might get generated from heat building up on the sensor from a long exposure.
Given that I couldn't see any colors or details with my eyes in the darkness, I was surprised to see what the camera had captured during this long exposure. Later, I added the moon (which I photographed on a separate evening) to add some interest and balance the composition within the frame. I also used a Photoshop brush to paint in the red light flares at the top of the monument. I think the final image takes on a surreal, otherworldly look: