Sometimes I have trouble getting back to sleep after waking during the night. Instead of tossing and turning, I started going out and shooting.
I’m not an experienced enough photographer yet to have settled into a set style or genre, but night photography seems to be my thing.
So I guess it’s ok that I go out and shoot at night, except of course missing out on some sleep. In a way that doesn’t matter because I’ve found I can clear my head while I’m out shooting, and when I get back from a late night shoot I usually go back to sleep quickly. Sometimes the shoots wind up being an early start to shooting a sunrise.
I’ve done everything from my first try at star trails, more interstate light trails, and more light painting, and even started working on time lapses.
Check these out:
I will get some others uploaded when I can, just to show a broad selection of the different shots I’ve gotten.
As a matter of fact, I’m writing this while out on a shoot. I have two cameras going right now, so maybe I will get something worth posting later.
Late night photography probably isn’t the textbook cure for insomnia, but it’s helping me.
You may be noticing a recurring theme – I really enjoy long exposure photography, especially at night. I love reading/watching tutorials on different photography and video topics. Light painting is, well, awesome. And there are a ton of different light painting tutorials out there.
A while back I was up in the middle of the night because I wanted to try capturing lightning in the night sky. That didn’t quite work out as planned, but I decided to kill some time by trying some light painting.
I started with a DIY lightsaber of sorts – a clear plastic tube used to store fluorescent light bulbs, some semi-transparent wrapping paper (blue), 2 small flashlights inserted into each end of the tube, my trusty Nikon D5300, tripod, and wireless remote. The 2 flashlights, tubes, and paper cost around $30. And I have enough to try many different color combinations – single or multiple tubes, you name it.
light painting involves trying over and over
a little orange flare added in Lightroom
kind of looks like I’m standing in the middle of a giant flower.
this is my favorite of the bunch.
late night light painting
late night light painting
I picked a spot nearby with a bridge leading to a man made island, with a beautiful tree, fairly well lit at night. A couple of comments on my own shooting/setup – I should’ve worn darker clothing, and also should have set the ISO lower. I thought I’d overridden the Auto-ISO feature (I intended to shoot at ISO 100), but I didn’t. One thing’s for sure, I’ve made plenty of mistakes while shooting, and I have learned as much from my failures as I have from my good images.
I’ll try again soon and see what difference lowering the ISO makes. Each shot was at 30 seconds.
No great technique or post processing, just some fun trying something different.
I really enjoy long exposure photography, especially at night. A while back I saw some blog posts showing images captured while driving. Before I go any further, if you’re going to try what I’m calling windshield photography, put safety first and photography at least second. The author suggested having a friend drive while you ride in the back and take pictures. I’ll give that a try when I get a chance. For now, all the shots here are ones I got while driving.
So I thought I’d give it a try. Nothing fancy. I placed my trusty Nikon D5300 on my dashboard, set the shutter speed, guessed on manual focus, and off I went. One improvement I’ve thought of since would be to use a remote trigger, keeping both hands (mostly) free to drive.
The shots above are from two different rides around town. One was a rainy (very early!) morning commute, while the other was just a usual Friday night.
I knew I’d have some camera shake thanks to our fine roads (don’t get me started), so it was more to see what light trails I’d get based on different locations. Some of the best images came while driving around curves and by sitting at traffic signals in the rain.
While shooting in the rain, I keep my windshield wiper speed down so water droplets would build on the windshield, adding a different bit of bokeh to the traffic light shot.
No great technique or post processing, just some fun trying something different. I hadn’t yet heard the term windshield photography used, so I thought I’d see if it sticks.
Capturing light trails seems to be a photography rite of passage. At some point, I think every aspiring photographer gives it a try. I’ve always been fascinated by long exposure photography, particularly at night, and so I jumped at the chance to capture interstate highway light trails.
I went out shooting one evening in downtown Baton Rouge, and after the sun went down I decided to head to one of the interstate overpasses and catch some light trails. Luckily for me, there was no traffic where I was standing, and I got some pretty good shots looking back towards downtown Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State Capital.
Then, using some great (and free!) photo editing tips from Nathaniel Dodson (here’s the link to the video tutorial), I made some easy edits in Lightroom, and finally settled on the above image.
It was fun to try, and I’ll be sure to do it again the next chance I get.