“There is a difference in what people are willing to consider daytime versus nighttime. It’s dark and you don’t know what’s out there. And the way things are now, there may be something.” - Art Bell, Para Normal Radio Host
Always the night deterred me. Despite the dramatic color, the mystery of the dark and the impact of the stark images that were possible, I remained reluctant to venture out with my camera into the darkness. Maybe it was the Loneliness of the dark or the void it created reflecting on things that lacked in me. I was not sure.
Great photographers like Brassards, Schwab, Brook and Paiva made their reputations on photos at night.
This is a new year and I promised myself to overcome the fear of night photography and study the techniques involved. Venture out I have. Rewards for those efforts flowed back to me. I learned more about my camera, learned new techniques and enjoyed working with the equipment.
I pass on a few of these by way of hints. Equipment is key. Use a good tripod and camera with manual settings. I favor the SLIK Lite 420 tripod. They have made tripods since 1948. The 420 holds up to 4.4 pounds (camera weight) and is easy to use. I have several cameras. The one I found most useful at night is the Fuji X100T (latest version is F). It is easy to use in manual mode and focuses well on the subject in darkness.
A good range of settings to use to start out is a wide aperture (f2.8), shutter exposure time of 10 seconds and ISO 1600+. Experimentation will vary these depending on your experience and the scene.
Perhaps the greatest dividends in photographing at night are the new creativity you find and surprising artful results. The night frees you from the need for the perfect crystal-clear result and the excess rabble that sometimes takes away from the perfect scene.
It’s a wonderful new adventure and perhaps best summed up by a quote from the poet Sarah Williams:
“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night…”