Since we’re experimenting with the Lights of Night in Exploring with a Camera this month, I’ve decided this week I will share night shots to get you in the mood. This last weekend, I got up early on Saturday morning to go out and practice some night photography. Armed with my tripod and my new cable release, I was ready. I experimented with bulb exposures (a new one for me) and was reminded that patience is key. Everything, from setting up to taking test shots for exposure, takes longer with traditional night photography.
I also learned that I could only take it for so long. After a while I abandoned the tripod, leaving it tucked out of the way on the sidewalk (because no one was around at 5am), put on my “night lens” (35mm f/1.4) and went back to handheld. And was so much happier!
I’ve known this for a long time… Something about using the tripod disconnects me from the creative process. It disconnects me from the intuition that tells me when I to the camera to my eye. It’s more calculated and less responsive. There are times you absolutely MUST use a tripod to get the image you want, but if you are disconnected from the image at the end, is it worth it? I’m not sure it is to me. Maybe I just need to walk around with the camera in my hand for a while, and then go back for the tripod when I’ve found an image I can’t get any other way.
I will continue playing with the tripod… because I love the Lights of Night. And I’ll continue to push the limits of handheld night photography too, because that’s the best of both worlds, to me.