- Night photography
Night photography refers to photographs taken outdoors between dusk and dawn. Night photographers generally have a choice between using artificial light and using a long exposure, exposing the scene for seconds, minutes, and even hours in order to give the film or digital sensor enough time to capture a usable image. With the progress of high-speed films, higher-sensitivity digital image sensors, wide-aperture lenses, and the ever-greater power of urban lights, night photography is increasingly possible using available light.
In the early 1900s, a few notable photographers, Alfred Stieglitz and William Fraser, began working at night. The first photographers known to have produced large bodies of work at night were Brassai and Bill Brandt. In 1932, Brassai published Paris de Nuit, a book of black-and-white photographs of the streets of Paris at night. During World War II, British photographer Brandt took advantage of the black-out conditions to photograph the streets of London by moonlight.
By the 1990s, British-born photographer Michael Kenna had established himself as the most commercially successful night photographer. His black-and-white landscapes were most often set between dusk and dawn in locations that included San Francisco, Japan, France, and England. Some of his most memorable projects depict the Ford Motor Company's Rouge River plant, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in the East Midlands in England, and many of the Nazi concentration camps scattered across Germany, France, Belgium, Poland and Austria.
During the beginning of the 21st century, the popularity of digital cameras made it much easier for beginning photographers to understand the complexities of photographing at night. Today, there are hundreds of websites dedicated to night photography.
- Celestial bodies (See astrophotography.)
- Streets with or without cars
- Abandoned buildings and artificial structures that are lit only by moonlight
- City skylines
- Factories and industrial areas, particularly those that are brightly lit and are emitting smoke or vapour
- Nightlife or rock concerts
- Bodies of water that are reflecting moonlight or city lights
- Amusement rides
Technique and equipment
The following techniques and equipment are generally used in night photography.
- A tripod is usually necessary due to the long exposure times. Alternatively, the camera may be placed on a steady, flat object e.g. a table or chair, low wall, window sill, etc.
- A shutter release cable or self timer is almost always used to prevent camera shake when the shutter is released.
- Manual focus, since autofocus systems usually operate poorly in low light conditions. Newer digital cameras incorporate a Live View mode which often allows very accurate manual focusing.
- A stopwatch or remote timer, to time very long exposures where the camera's bulb setting is used.
Long exposures and multiple flashes
The long exposure multiple flash technique is a method of night or low light photography which use a mobile flash unit to expose various parts of a building or interior using a long exposure.
This technique is often combined with using coloured gels in front of the flash unit to provide different colours in order to illuminate the subject in different ways. It is also common to flash the unit several times during the exposure while swapping the colours of the gels around to mix colours on the final photo. This requires some skill and a lot of imagination since it is not possible to see how the effects will turn out until the exposure is complete. By using this technique, the photographer can illuminate specific parts of the subject in different colours creating shadows in ways which would not normally be possible.
Painting with light
When the correct equipment is used such as a tripod and shutter release cable, the photographer can use long exposures to photograph images of light. For example, when photographing a subject try switching the exposure to manual and selecting the bulb setting on the camera. Once this is achieved trip the shutter and photograph your subject moving a flashlight or any small light in various patterns. Experiment with this outcome to produce artistic results. Multiple attempts may be needed to produce a desired result.
The World Trade Center in New York City.
The Golden Gate Bridge at night.
Taipei 101 at night, fully lit.
The opening ceremony of Burj Khalifa.
Published night photographers
This section includes significant night photographers who have published books dedicated to night photography, and some of their selected works.
- Paris de Nuit, Arts et metiers graphiques, 1932.
- Harold Burdekin and John Morrison
- London Night, Collins, 1934.
- Jeff Brouws
- Inside the Live Reptile Tent, Chronicle Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8118-2824-7
- Alan Delaney
- London After Dark, Phaidon Press, 1993. ISBN 0-7148-2870-X
- Neil Folberg
- Celestial Nights, Aperture Foundation, 2001. ISBN 0-89381-945-X
- Karekin Goekjian
- Light After Dark, Lucinne, Inc. ASIN B0006QOVCG
- Todd Hido
- Outskirts, Nazraeli Press, 2002. ISBN 1-59005-028-2
- Peter Hujar
- Night, Matthew Marks Gallery/Fraenkel Gallery, 2005. ISBN 1-880146-45-2
- Rolfe Horn
- 28 Photographs, Nazraeli Press. ISBN 1-59005-122-X
- Lance Keimig
- Night Photography, Finding Your Way In The Dark, Focal Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0240812588
- Brian Kelly
- Grand Rapids: Night After Night, Glass Eye, 2001. ISBN 0-9701293-0-0
- Michael Kenna
- William Lesch
- Expansions, RAM Publications, 1992. ISBN 4-8457-0667-9
- O. Winston Link
- The Last Steam Railroad in America, Harry Abrams, 1995. ISBN 0-8109-3575-9
- Tom Paiva
- Industrial Night, The Image Room, 2002. ISBN 0-9716928-0-7
- Troy Paiva
- Bill Schwab
- Jan Staller
- Frontier New York, Hudson Hills Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55595-009-4
- Zabrina Tipton
- At Night in San Francisco, San Francisco Guild of the Arts Press, 2006. ISBN 1-4243-1882-3
- Volkmar Wentzel
- Washington by Night, Fulcrum Publishing, 1998. ISBN 978-1555914103
- Comprehensive tutorials and articles about how to do night photography by The Nocturnes
- Photoblog Wiki Photoblog.com wiki article on night photography
- Short notes discussing the meaning and technique of night photography by David Baldwin
- Photography for night owls How to take photos in the style of Brassai
- Night Photography Guide Tutorial by Adam Currie
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Photography — is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light sensitive material such as photographic… … Wikipedia
Night Zero — Author(s) Anthony van Winkle, Eli Black Mizuta Website http://www.nightzero.com/ Current status / schedule Updating every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Launch date … Wikipedia
Night Falls on Manhattan — Theatrical release poster Directed by Sidney Lumet … Wikipedia
Night of Hunters — Studio album by Tori Amos Released September 20, 2011 … Wikipedia
Night Wizard! — 2nd ed. cover Designer(s) Takeshi Kikuchi, F.E.A.R. Publisher(s) Enterbrain Publication date 2002 (1st edition) 2007 (2nd edition) Ge … Wikipedia
Night Moves (album) — Night Moves Studio album by Bob Seger the Silver Bullet Band Released October 22, 1976[1 … Wikipedia
Night of the Blood Beast — Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski Produced by Gene Corman Roger Corman … Wikipedia
Night Attack (The Angels album) — Night Attack Studio album by The Angels Released November 1981 … Wikipedia
Night Songs — Studio album by Cinderella Released August 2, 1986 … Wikipedia
Night in the Ruts — Studio album by Aerosmith Released November 1, 1979 … Wikipedia