Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lights at Night

Connecting with Kat over at the "Kat Eye Studio" for this month's Exploring with a Camera topic which is Night Photography.  If you haven't done a little reading on Kat's blog each month when she shares her Exploring series-I'd like to recommend it.  I find the topics helpful in looking or considering my photography in different ways.  Sometimes it provides that little boost to get me going again.

Not My House
Not My House

I don't think I'm very good at night photography.  I'm really entranced with light, so darkness isn't very inspiring to me.  This time of year when it's so dark is emotionally very hard for me.  Me no like it.  At all. But sometimes it's all that's left in a day when there ain't no clicks on the camera.  Additionally as Kat talked about in a recent post, the tripod, although often necessary, does not appeal to me.  It is cumbersome, cold on my hands, and it feels like an enemy not a friend.  By the time I've got it all adjusted my energy for the shot is waning.

I actually do like the results of some of the night shots I take though.  (Note to self:  Get out there, damn it.)

The Plains
The Plains

Here's a shot I took last year.  This is a blue hour shot, not really a night, night, night shot, but it totally hits me.  I can't remember if I used tripod or not.  Shit, I can't remember what I did last month, forget last year.


I can remember that I used tripod for this one....because I took it last Friday.  Doh!

This silent little artist inspired shopping area-empty for the evening was a great place to mess around.  It was quaint and had tons of lights.  I did use the tripod,  but also ditched it when it became frustrating, and then when back to it later.  I suppose that's a good way to keep sane.

Wreathe on the Door
Wreathe on the Door

Here's another from that evening-no tripod-this is part of the "maintain sanity" collection.

Lonely Friday Night BW 103/365
Lonely Friday Night BW 103/365

I recently shared this, forgive the repeat.....this is my fave from that night, because it is not a holiday shot.  I turned my car around to play with this scene, and yes I used the tripod. 

There was so much I wanted to capture here-there is a couple in the 2nd window talking and that's what first caught my eye (and of course their dryer went off and they started moving soon after I started).  I also like the barren feel.  There is a Christmas tree in the far right window and the desolate nature of the empty building aside from those two aspects was the gotcha appeal for me.  The car there was a blessing and a curse as I would have liked to move in closer (with my klunky tripod), but you have to make it work, but I think the car keeps the image from being too static and enhances the mood.

Rapid Rays
Rapid Rays

Store windows are an element of night photography I like.  Not in a voyeur sense, but as someone not "in" but outside of life's busyness.  A chance to imagine what is happening indoors in the light.


Here's another night shot-from Cuba.  That green glow was legit the color that was there.  Reminds me some of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks painting.  Charlotte was waiting patiently for her mojito.  While I was "in" not out, it has that same kind of feel.  I had rented quality lenses so I was able to get this without a tripod which I wasn't permitted to bring.  Aw shucks.

Night Blur
Night Blur

Here's another archive shot-one I really like.  It puts a little abstraction into the night which I think is kind of cool.  Mystery in a shot; I like that.

Well, I suppose I've blabbed on long enough.  If you've read this far you get a gold star and a thank you very much from me, and perhaps you should check your sanity level.  Egad I made a watch here when I was only asked what time it was.

Oh one more thing: Something on my "to do" list is to make a light box.  Got most of the materials, just have to put it together.  (Another note to  self: I think putting it together now rather than procrastinating until March is a good idea.)  I think the light box might be a nice way to off-set the darkness right in my very own home.


gina said...

Fun exploring with you, Susan! I love the angularity of your first shot and the nice balance of lights, but Lonely Friday tugs at my heart. And Nighthawks is a great capture. I'm planning on putting on my layers and going out tonight. Stay warm!

Tamar SB said...

These are great, Susan! Love how you captioned the first picture, "not my house" - The blur pics are awesome and the pic of the plains, stunning sky lighting!

Kay L. Davies said...

I read the whole thing. Two gold stars!!
Seriously, I love to know what photographers are thinking as they do things, and you, especially, are a lot of fun.
I'm not much of a photographer any more, since my eye surgeries. Fortunately, my husband has really gotten into photography in the past few years, and is developing a very good eye for composing a shot.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Shooting at night is fun, but I'm usually so damn tired, I give up.

Do you have a quick disconnect head on your tripod? Using one make you much more inclined to use a tripod, DAMHIK. I leave the mounting plate permanently attached to the camera, so I have no excuses. You can get a nice one for $60-70

Norma Ruttan said...

so I also get two gold stars? because I read the whole thing!
I like night shots; maybe I'm not accomplished in a pro photographer way. I like neons as shown thru my lens. I hate them when I'm driving, however, because so many confuse me as to where I should be going. (that's an age thing, I'm sure)
now I have to investigate about 'light boxes.'

Kathryn said...

These shots are great, you look like a pro. I have no clue with anything other than F-stops so the whole night thing is a bust for me. I'd planed to get my head around it but this past year has been a little rough. Maybe this coming year I can delve back into photography and pick up some new skills. The darkness of this time of year can drag us down but we have to take light where we can fight it. Right now I'm sitting in front of a log fire with the christmas lights on and it feels magical.

Deborah Tisch said...

These are fabulous night shots, and I really like the one in the blue hour with those telephone poles. I prefer taking night shots during that time but can't always make that happen.

Working on the light box now rather than March? Great idea. Can't wait to see what images you'll create with it!

martinealison said...

Bravo pour la réussite de ces merveilleuses photos... remplies de lumières...

Gros bisous à vous et joyeuses fêtes.

Brenda said...

Well, for someone who doesn't like night shooting, you have done a pretty darn great job of capturing those night lights. Wonderful examples all. Of course, you already know how much a fan I am of "Lonely Friday Night". Also very fond of the lovely green glow of "Nighthawks" - simply beautiful. And the abstract blur of "Night Blur" with that sense of motion and movement. I am also not much of a tripod fan and have only tried night shooting a few times. Your series provides needed inspiration to perhaps give it a go again.

Kat Sloma said...

Fabulous exploration Susan! You and I have found similar things about the tripod. Can't live with it, can't live without it. I like that you ditched it for sanity and then came back. Hopefully someday you'll have a lens like you had for Cuba, which lets you have the best of both worlds! Thanks for sharing in Exploring with a Camera. Great examples.

rakusribut said...

great exploration, felt like i was roaming around with you (and cursing the tripod lol) and great shots! i love the rapid ray's one, makes me think of hopper even more than the one with the green glow!

Leanne Barnett said...

Great night time shots, I enjoyed looking at these.

Cathy H. said...

Wonderful night shot! I'm in the Christmas light mood! I love the house and especially love the wreath shot! Great POV with wonderful reflection!

Anonymous said...

Read the whole post too and thoroughly enjoyed it. Love your images, especially the last one! Abstracts rule!

Laloofah said...

I think nighttime shots are so hard, yet so magical! You did a splendid job! I love "not my house" - what a sweet little cottage! And the shopping area and wreath on the door, those are my other favorites. I'm the opposite of you, I embrace the dark. I love this time of year, love the solitude of it. Love going for walks after dark, love the coziness of little lights and candles. But I know I'm a freak, and that a lot of people struggle with the lack of sunshine. At least you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that the days are getting longer now! Meanwhile, shine on with your wonderful photography and blog - it lights up the internet. :-)