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 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.
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.