Night is a challenge for me as a photographer. I have a tendency not to be out taking pictures at night…and when I am, I realize the challenges that night photography poses. Last night, on a flight to Tucson I had the opportunity to sit in a window seat. I realize that I often fly during the day, so once I was seated my eye was drawn to the lights against the dark of the night sky. And as I snapped photos of San Diego from the air, I noticed the moon, nearly full, casting a glow on the water below.
And every time I try to take night photos, I realize how slowly the shutter closes in low light. And the slowness means that it’s easy to create blurs, even with the slightest of movement. So from a plane, blurs become quite prominent. I love the fun abstraction of this image taken as we landed in Tucson.
So of course, when I saw this one, I had to try another as we taxied toward our gate.
Before that, up in the air, I was treated to an amazing light show. I watched an electric storm light up the clouds like fireworks in the distance. Since I wasn’t able to get a photograph because of the darkness, I decided to try my hand at some video. And while it isn’t perfect, you do get to see the beauty of the lightening lighting up the sky. I know I should figure out how to strip the sound of the aircraft and add some music or something…maybe one of you can give me suggestions for how to best do that!
Once we flew away from the storm, the lights of the city began to appear in the distance. And as we got closer and began to fly lower, my picture was less blurry and abstract. I also suspect that the plane’s light, that seems to come on at a certain altitude, helped give more light to my lens to make the shutter speed a bit faster.
After renting a car and heading out of the airport, I just had to take a photo of the iconic saguaro cacti, especially when I noticed the full moon behind them. My husband was nice enough to pull over so I could get out to take a few pictures of these magnificent plants.
So, try out a little night photography this week. What happens when the light is low? What light will you capture when the sky is dark? You don’t need an airplane for this exploration, you can try looking out the window of your house…or maybe even standing outside looking in!
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #night for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
So head out into the dark of night with your camera (or phone) in your hand. What will you find with night as your lens? I can’t wait to see what you find!