OK, so we are a year-in on this pesky pandemic. If you are like me, you search for ways to use your time productively. We’ve watched our fill of Netflix and other streaming services, now it’s time to do something productive!
For me, it is using my insomnia to go out into the night in search of visually compelling compositions. Yup, night! It’s a great time to photograph. It’s quiet, you can focus and in some areas, no bugs! I love the stillness and quiet of the night. You are the only person awake and silly enough to be setting up a tripod at 2:30 am! Embrace the silly! It is rewarding!
My subjects are objects and locations that nobody ever notices during the day because they are often remnants of the machinery of cast-away junk that will spend the rest of its lifespan being absorbed back into the earth.
You need a bit of Photoshop knowledge and the ability to use your camera fully manually. Once you know how to set your camera up for night shooting (practice in your bedroom in the dark), you are ready to go out into the night with just a small flashlight. That’s all I use.
Find a subject, pop your tripod down and frame up a cool composition. HUNT: If you shoot low to the ground, looking slightly upward, your subject will have a more important presence in the frame, and, bonus, you block out distractions behind it and get in more sky!
I start with these settings, yours may differ, but it’s a good place to start: 1) 640 ISO 2) 30-second exposure 3) f/5.6 aperture. Set your camera to a 2-second self-timer setting so you can gently press the shutter button and begin “painting” part of the scene with your flashlight on low power. You will need to test out a few exposures to figure out how long to paint. Once you get it, press the shutter release again, gently, and begin to paint a different part of the subject. Continue doing this until you figure you have covered all angles – don’t forget a bit of background!
After that, set your ISO higher and just a shot of the sky with the stars to work into the composition.
When you are back home, enhance the images, load them into a stack in Photoshop, assign each image the, Lighten blend mode, and enjoy a surreal image. Flatten the image and save it and share it with the rest of the insomniacs out there!
This is a very simplified and general overview of the process. But, I bet once you try a couple of compositions you will be hooked! Then you can refine and finesse your works of nighttime art!#1
Bayfield Flea Market
Visual journalist turned college educator, speaker, photo workshop leader and restless observer of human nature.
I use me visual journalism background to inspire my students to not just look at the world around them, but to truly SEE what is happening around them. See the stories, hear the sounds, experience the smells feel the energy – then pull it all together and make compelling stories to share with others.
I use my cameras to tell my stories. The camera, though just a box with a lens – is a powerful tool for good! Read more »
For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here!