Monday, January 5, 2015

The Music of the Night - (photographically speaking!)

by Carol

"I will love the light for it shows me the way,
yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars."
                                                                     Og Mandino

We spent the month of December celebrating light. But the Christmas and Chanukah lights are now packed away, and we are beginning the long, dark months of winter. The months where the days are short and mostly spent inside, escaping the cold temperatures by tucking in near the fire. 

STOP! This is FOL! We are here to inspire you (and each other)! Get up off the couch and out of your comfort zone and go embrace the darkness! Get those tripods out  - (carrying them around will help work off those Christmas cookies!) and engage your brain! Night photography is not easy. but its so rewarding when it comes out well.

Remember - beauty exists in EVERY moment of EVERY day. You can find in in the midst of darkness as well as in the light. (Are you digging the metaphor here?)

For those of you not used to shooting in the dark (and that's most of us) - here are some basic tips to start off our month:

1.Use a tripod.
  You have very little light to work with, so your shutter must stay open a long time to gather enough  light in. You cannot possibly hold still that long, so a tripod is a must.
2. Shoot in raw.
It will allow you to gather as many pixels as possible so you can accumulate their light.
3. Use manual mode for more control
4. Keep your ISO at 200 to reduce noise, unless the subject is moving.
5. Turn off spot metering - use evaluative (Canon) or matrix (Nikon). This allows the camera to look around for the best light for focusing.
6. With a zoom lens, use it's middle aperture (sweet spot)
Either extreme has less perfection than the central value the lens was based on.
7. Focus on the lit places
 Those are the  places that hold our interest.
8. If you confuse yourself, pop the camera into program mode to see what settings it suggests, then go back to manual and tweak them.
9. Bulb mode let's you press your shutter release to open up the camera, and then press it again when you are ready to stop. here is a link to a handy online chart, if you want to be precise until you are able to feel your way through.

And here are some composition ideas:
1. Play with light sources that are entering the dark from different directions
2. Look for manmade (electric) light against natural light at days end.
3. Shoot at twilight for even greater clarity
4. Convert night photos to black and white for cool effect

I can't wait to view your images in our flickr gallery, in our phone posts and on IG. Post them for us, and then go back to your seat by the fire and stroll through our galleries to see what our FOL family has created.

"We can't live in the light all of the time. You have to take whatever light you can hold into the dark with you."
                                            Libba Bray
                                            A great and Terrible Beauty


Linda/patchwork said...

Great photos.
This is something I need to practice. I've gotten a bit better, figuring it out. But, I'm a long way from being able to take photos like those above. Thanks for the tips. They'll help a lot.
Happy New Year.

Linda said...

Thanks for the tips Carol. I needed that! Now I need a not so cold night to practice them! Your pictures are so good! Lots of inspiration there!

chasing the sun said...

So beautiful...I love the tips! I am so unpracticed with night photography..While getting lessons in shooting panos, time ran away from my friend and I.. Darkness fell smack dab into the middle of our shoot..I was fortunate that my friend had plenty time and patience to give me some beginner lessons in night photography :-)

terriporter said...

Such a great post, Carol! Love all of your shots and I know they will inspire us to get out there and shoot some night shots. My problem is that I get too lazy to carry my tripod around but I DO have some holiday calories to burn so this might be just the ticket! Can't wait to see the "music of the night" photos that everyone posts!

Dotti said...

Beautiful photos and useful tips. Great post! I do wish I'd read this before I did my night photography a couple of weeks ago at Biltmore. I used my monopod instead of my tripod. It worked well enough but a tripod is better. In some venues, though, the monopod is more practical and certainly better than nothing. I'll be trying out night photography for sure on my upcoming trip next week where it will be warmer. I'm really a wimp about cold weather.

leigh said...

Carol, you have me excited to try some night photography!

Unknown said...

I'm with Terri I'm way to LAZY! But the tips are great as are the shots. Xo

Carol said...

Thanks for the compliment everyone-I still feel new at this, but Ive been trying! I hop the tips will be helpful!

Kim Stevens said...

Night photography can be fun, and there are some things I've been wanting to try that I haven't tried yet. I love using the bulb mode even on sunrises before the sun comes up and of course the fun of fireworks, but that is really far off. There is a hotel in Galveston that I wanted to take you all to at night that has a bar on the rooftop and I'm looking forward to checking it out at night sometime. Love the house with the moon!!!!

gina said...

Great ideas to get me moving and trying some new things. Thanks for all the tips. Your night images are lovely!

nancyjean said...

such wonderful night photos! thank you for the tips ... can not wait till the temps rise above 0 degrees so I can out and try them!!

heyjudephotography said...

I'm excited to work at this. (Just wish it wasn't so cold now!). Great tips and photos Carol.

kelly said...

wow carol! i am feeling totally inspired to get out of the house and get more comfortable with night photography. i love the lesson and the metaphor! :)

Cathy H. said...

Stunning images and such a helpful post!

Deanna said...

Oh what a great post, Carol and such great tips and hints. I love your night photography, and I must get out and practice this, when it warms up a little.

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

© Focusing On Life