Darkness Revealed

Two things are special to me about wandering the night with my digital camera. The first is the way I experience night. The second is the way a digital sensor can reveal colors and shapes in spite of apparent darkness.

As a wanderer in the darkness, I enjoy more freedom of the hills than those who must rush back to trailheads, cars, and lit houses as dusk approaches. There are few humans out and about at night (although there are many animals to be seen and heard). Fellow human travelers in the darkness greet each other like the explorers they are: aliens in a vast territory as strange to most people as the depths of the ocean or the reaches of space. Alone in the darkness of night, the stars wheel and individual car lights make a big impression as in this twenty minute exposure of Zion Canyon.

Zion Canyon at Night

View this image larger. Read the back story featuring this image.

Some early experiments with digital photography at night taught me that sensors pick up light waves beyond the ranges of human perception. It still astounds me that these photos of Point Reyes were taken in almost complete darkness. Well after sunset, there’s radiation our eyes can’t see bouncing off water, cliffs, and sky. This makes the combination of night wandering and digital photography unbeatable.

While digital photography at night in the city doesn’t involve the heroic exposure extremes of nature photography at night, there still are unexpected and unusual rewards.

If you are interested in learning more about night photography, I invite you to join me for a weekend of photography fun with like-minded souls here in Berkeley May 2-4, 2008 under the auspices of Digital Stop. This is a rare opportunity to experience the passion, joy, and freedom of night photography under the guidance of an expert! Here’s the link for on-line course registration and the workshop description:

Night photography has always been an area for creative experimentation. With the advent of digital photography, and its expanded dynamic range and light sensitivity beyond the visible spectrum, Harold Davis, the creator of www.digitalnight.us, takes workshop participants into the digital night.

During an orientation session, techniques, equipment, and night safety issues are covered. Moving outdoors, workshop participants will create night-time captures. Regrouping the following day, digital post-processing of night captures in Photoshop will be thoroughly demystified. Work will be evaluated in the context of personal creative goals. A second night shoot gives participants the opportunity to put into practice the night skills they have learned. We will learn to make spectacular photographs of the San Francisco skyline at night, as well as quieter photos of the landscape of the night by starlight.

Night covers the globe half the time. Surprisingly to many, photographic opportunities with digital equipment are as exciting during night as the day. Awake to the freedom of the night! Bring your energy and creativity, and expect to have a great time. You’ll go home with great images and the skills to capture night photos while the rest of the world sleeps.

Related link: Digital Night by Harold Davis.

This entry was posted in Digital Night, Photography.

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