Wishing all of you the happiest of holidays!
I will be back online after the holiday with some very special guest posts. See you then!
I’ve been wanting to get this shot for months. Since the days began getting shorter, and I began noticing the lights on my drive home from work. I love that “Books” sign with all of those books in the window! Usually there are cars parked on the street in front and three lanes of traffic passing by, so I knew I was going to have to make a special trip to capture it. I was going to have to be out some time when people were home in bed. When the streets were quiet.
4am on a Saturday should have done the trick. It was perfect… the streets were slightly damp, reflecting the red glow. The bicycle that’s usually there was still parked on the bike rack – score! There were no cars, except mine parked across the street. Just me and the shot I had been wanting.
I set up, framed, captured… and then noticed the reflected Christmas lights. Argh! This store is across from our county courthouse, which was all done up in its holiday light finery. The lights were reflecting in the window, ruining my otherwise perfect shot. Just a reminder that you can’t get everything you want, especially when you are working with the Lights of Night.
Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to go out again, once the holiday lights come down. I hope the bicycle will be there next time! Has this ever happened to you?
Today we are continuing our study of the Lights of Night, this time with a tripod shot from my weekend excursion. One of the things that captivated my attention were the tree shadows. Probably no surprise, since I’ve been obsessed by trees lately! The question at the end of the day becomes… How to process them?
Do I leave them in color, with the interesting color from the streetlights…
…or do I convert to black and white and eliminate the color?
I tried both, and prefer the color. It doesn’t have the same feel of night in the black and white, and I like that warm glow from the lights of night. What do you think?
While you are thinking about it, you can visit the other participants of Exploring with a Camera! And have you gotten out at night yet? Brave the weather and give it a try! Dress warmly, bring an umbrella if you need to, ask someone along as a “spotter” and get out into the night. The holiday lights won’t last too much longer! Visit the Lights of Night post for lots of links to night photography resources. See you back here!
I’m taking a little break from the Lights of Night to share some of my favorite digital paintings from the last week for Paint Party Friday. I continued my exploration with the new process, moving from monochromatic paintings to multiple colors. I love the feeling in this first one, which I call Winter Fire. It does have kind of a fire-and-ice feel to it, doesn’t it? I like how the trees are just barely visible, but you see enough of them to make them out. What do you see in this painting? What is your interpretation of the scene?
Another favorite this week is a study of lines. Nature’s lines. The lines you find in nature often seem chaotic, but there is a pattern to them. I love seeing the pattern in things, whether it’s in nature or in an engineering problem. Just call me goofy!
Finally, in the spirit of the Lights of Night theme that I have going on this week, I thought I would share a digital creation that is not a “painting” but has the feel of night. This one was taken during the middle of the day, but I love that I can give an impression of night through my processing. I call this work “Night into Day.” Hmmm… maybe I should try making a painting out of this one, and see what happens!
Happy Holidays to the Paint Party Friday crowd!
I think one of the things I love about the Lights of Night is the storytelling it affords. There is something about looking at a building with the lights on inside that sparks my interest. Are the doors and windows open, inviting me in? Or are they closed, keeping me out? Who are the people around? And, as a photographer, I’m a bit more invisible. People don’t notice me taking photos at night, from the shadows.
This streetcorner shot from San Francisco is a great example of a story waiting to be told. There is the store, inviting you to stop in on the way home, and yet the the business man hurries right by. What story do you tell, from this image?
Shot during the blue hour, there was enough light from the store and the sky that I didn’t even have to change to my 35mm “night lens” to shoot this handheld. The slower shutter speed needed to get the exposure actually helps with the impression of the man hurrying home.
The blue hour is a great time to try your hand at night photography if you don’t want to haul around the tripod. Have you tried it yet?
OK, my name is not in lights literally, but I’m over on Moms Who Click today with an interview and a giveaway. If you would like to win a spot in the upcoming Find Your Eye series then click yourself right over there to enter! And of course, to learn a little more about me and my photography. Thanks so much to Kristina at Moms Who Click for inviting me to participate in their Behind the Lens series!
But back to our regularly scheduled programming… the Lights of Night.
I’ve been very much attracted to neon lights lately. After I ditched the tripod on Saturday morning, that’s what called to me. This was my favorite capture from the window of a local pizzeria. It tells a bit of a story, don’t you think?
I also shared one in the Exploring with a Camera: Lights of Night post from San Francisco earlier this year. I love the repetition of the neon signs in this one, and the detail you can just make out through the windows.
You’ll notice the last couple of days I’m adding the settings for the photos I share. I’ll do that all this week as I share night photos. I want you to get a feel for the settings I’m using to get effective images, so you can see what you might want to try if you are struggling.
Capturing neon signs can even more of a night photography challenge, because they are often so bright relative to their surroundings. I have discovered a few things about successfully photographing neon signs:
Good luck! Be sure to share your night photography experiments in our Exploring with a Camera link up this month. Share the triumphs and the failures, it’s all good for learning. I’m happy to help you and answer questions if you are struggling, too. Just leave a comment.