Friday, January 16, 2015

Evening at Biltmore

by Dotti

Our theme this month is so intriguing, and, for me, challenging. True confession time: although it fascinates me, I haven't ventured very far into the world of night photography. There are some reasons for this. One, when I'm out at night, it's for some specific purpose and photography usually doesn't morph with that purpose. Two, here comes another true confession: I hate lugging my tripod around. And tripods are essential for night photography.

Except when they're not.

My husband and I visited Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the weekend after Christmas for their delightful seasonal display in the house and on the estate. Some of you, I'm sure have been to Biltmore, some have not. If you haven't been at all or haven't been lately then you are overdue for a visit but be forewarned, there is no photography allowed in the house. It had probably been 20 years or more since we'd visited but the enhancements to the house {more rooms and areas open to the public} and the grounds {more buildings, activities, dining, retail} are nothing short of stunning. I won't take up your time here but if you're interested, you can find get the scoop right here.

So, back to the original topic, not using a tripod for night photography. When we left on our trip, I wasn't really focusing on the opportunities for night photography so I grabbed my monopod and everything you see on this post was taken using my monopod.

I do wish I'd been able to read Carol's great post introducing our theme before we made our trip. Most of my shots were taken with high ISO rather than lower ISO. If I had been using a lower ISO, though, I think the tripod would have been superior to the monopod. 

Although it had been a long time since our last visit, we were pretty sure that these trees were not in the middle of the green out in front of the house nor could we remember any photos showing these. From the terraced walk behind the trees, these trees really spoil the view of the home as you'll see in a photo below. My husband was so curious that he asked one of the docents in the house about the trees and she told him that, no, they are not there year round. They are planted each Christmas season just for the Christmas at Biltmore celebration. Yes, you read that correctly. They are planted there before Christmas and removed after. It would seem no trouble is too great for their holiday celebration.

As Carol pointed out, night photography is particularly suited to black and white photography and I found that I did like using a black and white conversion. 

This is the view from the terraced walkway opposite the house. Note the luminarias, which were everywhere and were replaced and relit every evening. {How would you like that job?}

And finally, the terraced walkway opposite the front green and front view of the house. I just have to tell you, the sight of all these luminarias, honest-to-goodness paper bag luminarias with sand and real tealight candles, totally mesmerized me. {No, it doesn't take much.}

This probably represents my first serious foray into night photography and these are the results I got with my monopod. But the next time I attempt night photography {which I hope will be sooner rather than later}, I'm going to take Carol's advice and lower the ISO and use my tripod.

Please keep sharing your lovely night photography photos with us on Flickr and Instagram. This is a great theme and what better time to practice night photography than in January when days are short and nights are long. 

But stay warm!


Lisa Comperry said...

Stunningly beautiful! I will have to visit this place someday :-)

AFishGirl said...

What a splendid show of this place! I'm also a not night photographer. Hmmmmm. Will think on that...

terriporter said...

No one would believe that this was your first serious attempt at night photography. These shots are beautiful! I usually have to talk myself into getting out my tripod, but when I do it's always worth it.

Deanna said...

Oh these are so wonderful. Really beautiful night photography. And I am like you about lugging the tripod but it definitely helps.

Peggy said...

Absolutely beautiful night pictures!

Karen Pickles said...

Love Biltmore! Been there a few times. NC has so much to offer from the coast to the mountains! Your images are just gorgeous! I've never been at Christmas time but it's in my bucket list!

Anonymous said...

What a marvellous place! And you got some GREAT shots. You rock at night photography. Isn't it fun?

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