The last month was really hot where I live. There wasn’t much to do in the day as long as photography goes because the temperatures were (and still are) unbearable so I took this opportunity to do some night photography and also test a new piece of gear that I’ve got.
A moonless night followed so the timing was perfect. Me and my brother have some places that we have done night photography before but no two nights are the same. The thrill of night photography can’t be matched by any other type of photography, maybe because in the dark we feel so exposed. We looked for interesting trees and angles at daytime because once the light drops it’s really hard to move and find subjects for the images. Some of the photos resulting from this shoot will probably surface on this blog too at a latter time, but it was the photo above, “The Visitor” that first caught my attention.
There was orange light that came from a nearby town and that was polluting the night sky so there was no way it would get better no matter how long I waited, so I decided to use it to my advantage. The strange eerie orange glow still let some stars be visible so I placed the subject in the center of the frame so it would almost be framed by this light. I used the flash of light to make the silhouette visible and it seemed to me that this looked like an alien apparition scene. I used and aperture of f/4 with ISO 3200 at 20 mm at 30 seconds so the stars would appear as points for this one.
The blue light adds a bit of contrast and makes me think of Sci-Fi, as does the field and stars. I love the mystery that comes with this one, it’s a great addition to my night photos.
I’ve written about photographing star trails and other types of landscapes at night before on this blog, but there is another type of night photography that I like and find really interesting – photographing deep in the woods at night, in total darkness. It’s a unique experience and I have to admit that I really feel the grandeur of nature when doing this.
This works best when the air is a bit hazy but there isn’t any thick fog. Going deeper into the woods on forest roads and then leaving it always feels a bit like the premise of a horror movie. It’s a totally different experience than in the daylight because a lot of the forest creatures are nocturnal. There are strange noises and little glowy eyes following you everywhere so imagination runs wild. Knowing that the “safety” of civilization is so far away and gets ever further makes for and interesting mix of emotions.
It was on one of these night hikes trough the forests of Transylvania that I made the photo “Apparition in Forest at Night”. As always, I was with my brother. We saw that the light from the flashlight is casting interesting shadows and tried to see how a lit silhouette would perform under such conditions. Like on all night photos I used a tripod and a wide angle lens. The problem here was that the light behind the silhouette was coming from a flashlight and was pretty low so the silhouette became blurry because of the tiny movements. I tried to keep the exposure as low as possible but still needed 50 seconds at f5,6 and ISO 400. Multiple tries later, the result was something surreal and dark that makes the mind wander. It could be a magical portal to another world, the materialization of a dark time, a ghost apparition or even an alien. It could also be a vision for the concept of spiritual enlightenment, time and space.
I really like taking photos in the night because it’s such a surreal and out of this world experience. I have posted before about the thrills of night photography here.
The photo above is made using a really long shutter speed – 60 minutes, so that the stars become star trails. This is due to the movement of the earth and the fact that the Northern Star (Polaris) is realtively still, so the whole night landscape is eerie, strange and beautiful. I’ve added a light source and a silhouette that could be the one of an alien so everything has the grandeur of the cosmos.