Yorkshire Photo Walks
Embrace the Night Every photograph is a new discovery.
Why is Night Time the Right Time for Photography? Light. Without it, photography simply would not exist, right? Then why and how can I say that 'night time is the right time' to learn about this wonderful medium? In this article I am going to outline my top 5 reasons why night time should not be ignored, feared or dismissed by beginners in photography and why, by taking your camera out after dark, you can improve your photography skills. When I first picked up a camera, the thought of taking photographs after dark was an extremely foreign concept. After all, my early training had taught me that light is the most important element and without it, photography just does not work. It wasn't until I was on a walk after dark I decided to try it out. I set my camera up in a dark spot, in the middle of a wood and let it do its thing. The exposure was about 3 minutes at ISO 400 at an aperture of f5.6. As my camera was processing the file, I was expecting to be shown a black screen. To my amazement, the wood was revealed in the photograph. From this moment on I decided to put all my effort into finding out how this was possible. My camera had made the invisible visible when, to my eyes, there was no light. The truth is, especially in this country, there is always light available. Ambient light from towns and cities reflects off the atmosphere so even when you are in, what appear to be extremely dark places, light can still be picked up by our camera's sensor. If you think about it practically, our eyes do not have the ability to to soak up light over a period of time, however, our cameras, with the aid of long exposures, do. This means that they can pick up light we can not physically see it in the moment. If you are yet to see this revelation for yourself and you are still a bit daunted by taking your camera out after dark, hopefully these 5 reasons for taking the plunge, will encourage you to do it.
1 . Night time photography helps you to learn how your camera works. During the day it can be tempting to slip your camera into auto, especially if the manual settings scare you. At night however, yes, most digital cameras have a 'night time mode' but this gets frustrating when your photographs come out noisy, blurry and lacking in umph. The best results at night come when you set each variable, (shutter speed, aperture and ISO), separately. By doing this you can start to get amazingly sharp shots of things you can not see. Plus at night, there is no pressure to rush, you have plenty of time to set your camera up and ponder what settings to choose.
2. Extremes are more revealing. During the day you generally work with pretty standard settings that change ever so slightly as the light ebbs and flows. At night, however, we are confronted by extreme settings. Instead of dealing with fractions of seconds, we are dealing with whole seconds or even minutes. From my experience, knowing how dramatic settings work helps you to get to grips with those subtle changes during the day. If at night I expose a shot for 3 minutes and during the daytime I expose the same shot for 1/125th of a second at the same aperture value, I can then make the connection between the amount of light I am letting into the camera and the amount of time I need to expose the sensor without under or over-exposing the photograph.
3. Playing is learning. We say that by playing, children learn the most important values of life. As adults I think we should not forget this as we get older. It has been proven that the more fun we have when learning about something, the more we value the new information we have gained. At night we can achieve weird and wonderful things that could not be possible during the day. For example, when I started learning about long exposures, I really wanted to capture a set of traffic lights with all three lights on at the same time. It is things like this that create intrigue, not just for the people admiring our photographs but also for us as we learn how it is done.
4. Make the invisible visible. Many people, when they think of night time photography, think about city and town-scapes. Why wouldn't they, that is where the most light is. A night time landscape, however, isn't usually at the forefront of people's minds. Don't be scared of getting off the beaten track after dark, make sure your torch has got sufficient battery life to get you there and back and go out there and make the invisible visible. No light painting required, just a bit of patience and a good knowledge of how your camera works. Remember my revelation of revealing that wood for the very first time. The sight of something in front of you, that you, personally, can not see, can be a magical experience. Plus it provides a unique perspective that not many people often capture.
5. Avoid your fears through teamwork. Going out alone on a cold dark night is enough to put anyone off night time photography, especially if you are aiming for reason 4 in this list. My advice would be to get together with a group of other photographers with a thirst for learning about night time photography and go out as a group. Going out as a team not only gives you confidence, it also pulls together multiple brains. If one of you is stuck on one particular aspect, chances are another will be able to help. If one torch dies on the way, there will be another to illuminate your path. Also comparing photographs with one another can be a really good way of learning the ins and outs of this fascinating field of photography. You could even try some light painting!
February is 'Dark Skies Month' at Yorkshire Photo Walks. We are teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales Dark Skies Festival to put on some great night time Photo Walks to give you a great start in getting to grips with your camera after dark. Don't miss out on the opportunity to do some night time photography. Believe me you will gain more confidence and knowledge with every picture you take. Intrigued to learn more? Here are some of our Photo Walks you may be interested in...
Join us as we light up this historic monument with weird and wonderful effects. Learn how to set up your camera to capture light trails. AN INTRODUCTION TO LIGHT PAINTING
CATEGORY
feb 17 hoffman lime kiln, settle  saturday, 2:00pm
£25
HOW TO
Put your camera to the test and make the invisible visible. Find out how your camera fairs in near complete darkness. You will be absolutely amazed by the results! THE LANDSCAPE AFTER DARK
CATEGORY
feb 10 MALHAM  saturday, 5:00pm
£25
HOW TO
SKILL LEVEL
INTERMEDIATE
SKILL LEVEL
BEGINNER
TERRAIN
MODERATE
TERRAIN
easy
DOWNLOAD WALK FACT FILE
BOOK NOW
DOWNLOAD WALK FACT FILE
BOOK NOW
On this Photo Walk you will learn how to set your camera for taking amazing photographs after dark. Bring Leeds City Centre to life and capture it after dark. HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS AFTER DARK
feb 24 leeds city CENTRE SATURDAY, 5:00Pm
£25
limited availability
On this Photo Walk you will learn the fundamentals to capture this Dales market town after dark. Learn all about the optimum camera settings and focusing techniques. HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS AFTER DARK
feb 17 SETTLE TOWN CENTRE SATURDAY, 5:00Pm
£25
CATEGORY
CATEGORY
HOW TO
HOW TO
SKILL LEVEL
BEGINNER
SKILL LEVEL
INTERMEDIATE
TERRAIN
easy
TERRAIN
easy
DOWNLOAD WALK FACT FILE
BOOK NOW
DOWNLOAD WALK FACT FILE
BOOK NOW
©YORKSHIRE PHOTO WALKS 2017 • TOM MARSH PHOTOGRAPHY
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