I discovered my love for the craft of photography last year. I wanted to be a better photographer because I go overseas annually. I’ve mentioned here before that only one in ten of my photos from my Vietnam trip in 2010 were what I’d call any good, so I wanted to improve. I bought a better camera, started subscribing to photography blogs and magazines, and studying the craft of photography. I am certainly a better photographer than I was a year ago, but I still have a way to go. What I have discovered in the meantime, is how much I enjoy night photograph. Here’s why.
1. You get to hang out with other photography geeks
Photography, in many respects, is a solo activity. Sure people chat to you while you are out and about, especially if you are carrying a tripod, but generally, you are shooting solo. This year, through Twitter, I have been lucky enough to stumble on a group who go out once a month when the moon is full. We have been to some locations that any person in their right mind wouldn’t go to on their own. But there is safety in numbers. And there’s something nice about sharing an activity with a bunch of like-minded people. We talk mostly about photography, of course, but other topics enter the conversation. I look forward to my monthly sojourns with delight, always wondering what photographic adventure @waynegrivell will be organising next for us.
2. The photos are dramatic
The photos I have taken since starting this night photography gig can best be described as dramatic, mysterious and (I think) stunning. There is something mystical about long exposure photography that makes it a creatively satisfying activity. It’s a bit like fishing (the waiting part) but you are guaranteed of always catching something. Buildings, alleys, car parks and the like that would be (quite probably) mundane or boring when photographed during the day look beautiful when shot at night. I always get home from a shoot dying to download my photos so I can see what gems I have uncovered.
3. I keep learning new things about photography
This is aligned with my first point about going out in a group, where the knowledge and experience is shared generously by others on the shoot. My tripod would still be in its box, I would never have gotten a wireless remote, thought about different types of lenses or post-processing/monitor calibration software if I was wondering around making photos on my own. My confidence in my ability has increased because my technical knowledge has improved. I think about composition and perspective and framing and contrasting colours and clouds and light trails and lens flare when deciding what to photograph. I multi-task creatively, which just has to be good for my brain’s neural pathways, right?
In many ways, I have become a more street smart photographer because of night photography. However, I’m not going to pigeon-hole myself. Who knows? My fast approaching Mediterranean cruise/Italy trip may open up my eyes to other photographic possibilities!