night photography

Fireworks 2019 Balloon Fiesta Park Albuquerque New Mexico

Fireworks 2019 Balloon Fiesta Park Albuquerque New Mexico

Fireworks Photography in Albuquerque 2019

For the first 4th of July in a long time I had my camera out on a tripod using bulb mode and an index card to capture multiple fireworks burst in one exposure. Setup in a wide open field at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico I had a clear view with little wind to blow smoke into the frame, but on the other hand not much of a foreground to set the fireworks in. My step-by-step guide for making fireworks photos goes into even more detail about how and why I like to photograph fireworks. Still, I was pleased with the images I was able to make even from a good distance away.

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Frozen Midnight in Albuquerque New Mexico Snow Photography Black & White

Frozen Midnight in Albuquerque New Mexico Snow Photography Black & White

Frozen Treetops Over Dark Pools

Right on time to the weather forecast, snow began falling at 5pm on a Friday. By midnight it was a frozen landscape like I have never seen in Albuquerque, New Mexico before. There was not just snow cover, it was as if the trees and ground themselves had become snow leaving only dark ponds to contrast with all that white. I went out with my tripod to make these long exposure (5, 15, 30 second exposures) in black & white around my own apartment complex grounds.

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St. Raphael Festival Modern Midway Snell Isle Florida 2013

After 10 seconds, a swinging ship on a pendulum looks elliptical at St. Rafael Church Festival Snell Isle Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/16 ISO 200 10.5 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseEven though I merely observe, come the start of every October I find myself looking forward to the St. Raphael Festival that transforms a soccer field in the middle of a Snell Isle neighborhood into a carnival.  What really amazes me is how fast it comes and goes.  Sunday night at 8pm the festival is full of people on the rides.  By 9:30am Monday morning every ride is already packed up and loaded onto a truck.  It is only open for three days.  How fast it appears then disappears adds a lot to its mystery for me.  It just does not seem possible.

Of all rides, the ferris wheel holds the most nostalgia for me - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/16 ISO 200 2.3 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseAgain this year I did not go on a single ride.  I did, though, continue my custom of eating deep fried Oreos.  They warmed my insides for hours after.  

St. Raphael Festival in Snell Isle Florida is a mystical neighborhood carnival - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/16 ISO 200 1.4 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseWhere does the carnival go after it leaves Snell Isle?  I am very curious about that, but would not want to know the answer.  It occurred to me today that this could be its last stop of the year before winter, and that is why everyone packs up so quickly because vacation starts as soon as they finish.  As much as I like this annual visit, for many reasons I hope I am never here to see it again.

Shinjuku Tokyo Japan light trails

The view I had walking home at night when I lived in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, Japan - Nikon D80 f/29 ISO 200 5 sec tripod mountedThis is a photograph from my archives, taken back in October of 2008 at the start of my DSLR shooting from when I lived in Tokyo, Japan.  I lived in the heart of the city, Shinjuku, and getting home required walking over a pedestrian bridge with a great view, day or night, but especially at night.  I brought my Nikon D80 with me and a tripod I had just bought allowing me to make light trail images like this one.  Note that the brake lights appear on the left side of the road, as Japanese drive on the opposite side to the U.S.

Nissan GT-R 360 Forged Wheels Ybor City Tampa Florida Car Photography - part 2 strobist night shots

Nikon GT-R with custom wheels in Ybor City Tampa Florida black & white - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th tripod mounted with cable release - strobist: SB-800 in shoot through umbrella to frame right & SB-600 same setup to frame leftIn part 1 of the Nissan GT-R in Ybor City shoot I did for 360|Forged wheels, I featured daylight images.  Here in part 2 are late evening to night car photographs made using strobist techniques.  Thanks to help from the owner of the GT-R and his friend, I was able to make these bonus shots during the shoot with very specific light placement.  Basically, instead of my speedlights just being on light stands, the lights were able to be used upside down pointed at the wheels or areas of the car I thought best highlighted the GT-R. 

Nissan GT-R front quarter panel view Ybor City Tampa Florida Car Photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th - strobist: SB-800 in shoot through umbrella to frame right & SB-600 same setup to frame leftFor the above shot I achieved the black background by first aiming the two speedlights only at the car to manage background light spill, and then using Photoshop to turn any visible spill to pure black.  In reality, this shot was made in the same spot as the first photograph in this post.

Nissan GT-R Tampa skyline street strobist image Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/8th - strobist: SB-800 in shoot through umbrella to frame right & SB-600 same setup to frame leftWhere in the first two photographs the lights were both pointed low toward the Nissan GT-R, in this shot one light was held high above the hood of the car (see setup shot below).  Another light was used along the rear quarter panel and driver's side to let shadows be created for showing the different lines of the car's design.  The slow 1/8th shutter speed was used to pull some light out of the Tampa skyline for the background.

Nissan GT-R Ybor City photo shoot strobist setup, not seen is another strobe to frame right

Malaysian Borneo Tree Frog at night

Tree frog photographed in Malaysian Borneo in 2007 on a night trek - Olympus 5060 5 megapixel bridge cameraI went into my photography archives this afternoon and found this image of a tree frog I photographed in Malaysian Borneo way back in the summer of 2007.  This was before I entered the DSLR world, and still was shooting with my Olympus 5060 bridge camera.  At the time I was staying in a primative camp an hour's boat ride down a small river in the middle of the rainforest in Borneo.  This was the most remote place I have ever been.  The Malaysian guide took a small group of us on a night trek through the forest showing us all manner of creatures.  By far this tree frog was the most harmless of the ones he showed us (which included tarantulas and scorpions!).  

Since it was night and the tree frog on an isolated branch, the flash only lit up the subject creating an in camera pitch black background.

Night Photography Lesson with Jim in downtown St. Petersburg Florida

Jim practices handheld night photography shots using a 50mm f/1.8 lens in downtown St. Petersburg FloridaIt has been nearly two years since I first had a 1-on-1 Photography Lesson with Jim.  That one was out in Sawgrass Lake Park.  Our second lesson was very different.  We met in downtown St. Petersburg in the late evening for a specialized night photography lesson, focusing on handheld shots using a 50mm f/1.8 lens.  Jim is a great fan of theme parks and often visits them at night when all the attractions are colorfully lit up.  Downtown St. Pete makes for a passable substitute as many of the restaurants and buildings along beach drive use their fare share of vibrant LED lighting.

Once the sun went down and it was truly night, the settings used for hand holding such shots get pretty set in stone, though not without some room for tweaking.  Basically I instructed Jim to use f/1.8 ISO 800 and 1/60th most of the night.  As some buildings and signs had varying levels of brightness, he could sometimes use ISO 400 and even a few times ISO 200.  Still, without a tripod, night photography even at f/1.8 is going to require high ISOs.

I look forward to seeing what colorful and creative night theme park shots Jim makes on his next trip over to Orlando.