Lessons in Night Photography

About a year ago, I took a wonderful class taught by teacher, friend and mentor, Marty Springer.

As part of the course, we did an evening of night photography.

I struggled mightily with the class. It made no sense. Why shoot photos at night? Where is the light that’s so fun to play with?

And manual mode? I have to shoot in manual mode? Gah!

So I listened to Marty and she was very patient and I really just didn’t get it. I got a few good photos from that night, but most were sad, weird and blurry.

Recently, I checked out a book from the library by popular photography author Harold Davis. It’s called Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques.

Harold doesn’t say anything different from what Marty taught me. He just said it again. For some reason, it stuck this time.

This weekend The Good Man took me out to Fort Baker in celebration of our second anniversary.

Turns out there is a pier at Fort Baker that affords perfect unblocked views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I told my partner in crime, “oh we’re coming back here tonight.”

One rule of night photography is that you need a friend to go along to be your lookout. Setting up the camera takes a bit of concentration and exposures take a long time. As photographer, you get a bit focused. Having someone to keep the weirdos away is always a good idea.

The Good Man wasn’t in love with the idea of going out to a pier at 9:00 at night, but I was insistent. As many husbands have done in the face of insistent wives, he came along for the ride with only a few “hmphs” and snorting sounds.

City born and raised husband was geared up and ready to take on trouble from any kooks hanging out down at the pier.

Turns out, the only trouble we would have was from a large family of skunks dining at the trash dumpster nearby.

Let me tell you, both City Boy and Country Girl were equally cautious about those damn skunks.

The word “whooooa” was uttered a lot.

That said…the night journey was WELL worth the trip.

If only for this photo.

Others from the weekend available on my Flickr.

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Lessons in Night Photography text and images by Karen Fayeth are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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