Night Photography, Part One…


I had two assignments that involved night photography. One was ‘actual’ night photography where you go out and take pictures of light ‘doing it’s thing’ while you keep the shutter open for long periods of time (starting at 1 second and working your way up).

The other was actually ‘painting with light’ from either side of the camera. By which I mean, to either be in the shot and become invisible through long shutter speeds and moving constantly; while pointing light at the camera. Or be behind the camera using a flashlight to reveal your subject by painting the subject with the light.

I tried different things for those two assignments and came away with 4 different techniques, which I decided to put into 4 different posts.

Letting Light Do It’s Thing

For this first post, I’ll show you the easiest of the four techniques I tried, letting light do it’s thing. Basically, I went to various places around sunset and set up my tripod. I got the best results between 7:45-8:15 pm (west-coast in late August).

My instructor was quite specific that he wanted there to still be detail in the sky. Which meant that once it got really dark out, the sky would be black, and no longer have ‘detail’. For some of the photos, I pushed the limits and took pictures after 8:15p and used the city lights to give me some ‘detail’ in the sky.

One of those, is actually a favorite of mine, the city lights skewed the color of the sky and gave me a kind of orange-y picture, which I love. The instructor tried to ‘fix’ it by changing the temperature of the white balance, but had to agree that the photo was best ‘as shot’. Yea me. 😉 As you can see, the shutter was open just over a minute. The little arc of light in the sky is an airplane… too cool! 😀

Exposure: 64 sec at f/8, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 8:24 pm


This next one, may be pushing the limits a bit, as well. The shutter was open for one second and the fisherman was moving. So technically, nothing in the picture is in focus, because everything is moving. I thought it was kinda neat though. The camera is on a tripod, so the ‘blur’ is not from me, it is because everything is in motion; the clouds, the water, and the fisherman. Hind-sight, I should have tried to find a stationary object to put in the frame.

Exposure: 1 sec at f/8, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 7:43 pm



The next four photos are pretty much accomplished with the same technique, point camera (on a tripod) at cars and let the headlights become the subject. This is really fun to do, you should try it sometime. 😀

Exposure: 11 sec at f/8, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 7:56 pm


Exposure: 60 sec at f/8, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 8:08 pm



I really like this one, the cars turning really adds to this photo. Plus the sky and palm trees in the background are pretty.

Exposure: 30 sec at f/16, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 8:01 pm



This one is one of my favorites, because of the yellow lights at the top. They were created by the light on the top of a van-taxi. Too cool.

Exposure: 60 sec at f/11, ISO100
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Time of day: 8:01 pm


I hope you enjoyed these as much as I enjoyed creating them! 😀

Until next time…
~nic

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3 thoughts on “Night Photography, Part One…

  1. Pingback: Night Photography, Part Two… « The Auspicious Squirrel

  2. Pingback: Night Photography, Part Three… « The Auspicious Squirrel

  3. Pingback: Night Photography, Part Four… « The Auspicious Squirrel

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