I had always wondered how some of the night shots published in the photo magazines were so catchy. I tried taking pictures at night, but after a few attempts I was convinced that night photography was not just about mounting the camera on a tripod and setting the shutter for a long exposure. My pictures had very little contrast, and the subject didn’t stand out. There was something special about taking good pictures at night that I did not know.
Thanks to my wife for presenting me the best birthday gift ever. I got a chance to participate in "Light Painting Night Photography Workshop" conducted by Tim Baskerville, the director of The Nocturnes group. Tim specializes in night photography and has many decades of experience in the field. He gave participants some great insights about night photography. The gist of his presentation was: First, night photography gives you ample opportunity to control the light on your subject as there is little or no external light. Second, long exposure allows you to be creative – it allows you to paint your subject with light.
In the picture below, the anchor is hardly visible even after a 5 minute exposure. The second picture is light painted. One of the workshop participants walked near the anchor, and waved a flashlight pointing at the anchor for a few seconds.One could notice some light streaks toward the left of the picture. That's because proper care wasn't taken not to point the light source at the camera.
The picture where no light painting was done
Anchor and some areas around the anchor are light painted using a tungsten flashlight. The wall on the back was also light painted, but with little light when compared to that on the anchor.
In these pictures we painted the graves with colored lights to give it a spooky effect.
The grave with a 5 minute exposure.
The picture with the same exposure setting as the previous one. Tim got his colored flashlights and painted the graves with different colors
More rows are painted in this picture. So are the trees and the tall grave in the background.
This is an example of light drawing. Tim used one of his flashlights that had a low luminosity. He pointed it towards the camera and made the hand movements to write these words. Of course he is not visible in the picture because he didn't stay at one place for long enough to get captured, and he did not reflect any light. Also, he switched off the light when he moved from one letter to another.
Overall, it was a great experience to participate in the workshop. It is a workshop every photography enthusiast living in the San Francisco Bay Area should consider to attend.