There is the theory of creative limitation saying that limiting yourself to a single mean of expression or technique – one instrument or style of playing in music, one technique of painting or one lens or technique in photography – can make you more creative and make you see things differently. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t believe this to actually work, but a couple of months ago I decided to try and use focal lenses that I don’t use so often. For me it means using tele lenses more and searching for scenes I usually ignore. I think this affected the way I see a frame and compose a shot, the way I search for subjects and points of interest in images. I’m pretty content with the results so I’m going to try and experiment further with different mindsets.
The photo that I chose to illustrate this article was taken with a 70-300 mm lens at 70mm. On one side the sun was setting and on the opposite side the moon was just rising above a tree. The terrain didn’t allow me to change my position too much and if I would have chosen a wider lens the moon would have only been a small dot in the frame. So I shot it just above a nearby tree with green branches and thought that less of the tree would make for a simple minimal and modern aesthetic.
I love the peace and quiet of the night. While I’m out photographing at night it’s almost like a form of meditation. This has to do with the fact that night photography often requires really long exposure times, but I think it also has something to do with the fact that one can see our place between the stars and realize that we are part of a much bigger picture. This feeling is the most intense at night while gazing at the stars.
The photo above was taken on such a night of wandering on meadows and watching the stars and it has received a lot of attention trough the years, turning eyes and also selling a few prints. I think the reason for this is that it has a great subject – a strange looking tree in the foreground that almost seems to literally reach for the stars given it’s shape, but also because it captures another moment: the red moon rising. A lot of people asked if it is the sun or the moon that is visible. It’s actually the moon rising at midnight. If it were the sun, the whole scene would be too bright and the stars above would not be visible. I usually like horizontal prints, but this photo looks great as a print because the whole scene unfolds vertically: the darker area with the bright stars at the top of the photo, the middle blue part that is lighter and has fewer stars, and the bottom red part that has just a few visible stars. The exposure time was pretty short for a night photo – 46 seconds, so the stars won’t appear as light trails – I think I’ll make a post about star trails in the future as it is really interesting waiting for hours to see the final result. The night holds many mysteries. And even though night photography is difficult and takes time and patience – it is really worth it. I especially like the fact that I bring to light scenes that would otherwise remain hidden in the dark and would never be seen.