Fun in the… Moonlight

Light – the basic principal of photography. That’s why so many photographs made during day when we have a lot of sunlight. But photographing at night in moonlight is just as much fun for me (or maybe even more fun).

Night photography is full of surprises. I only have a general idea of a composition since I cannot see as much at night as in sunlight. Then experimenting begins. First, I need to find the right exposure, then find an actually interesting composition. Each attempt lasts for minutes – that how long exposure needs to be.

Then the fun with artificial lights begins. Adding flashes or flashlights to lit up some elements of landscape. There is no limit for creativity, except time.

On my last trip to the Palouse I spent about 5 hours photographing one night, mostly to get this photo. Each exposure was 5 minutes. Once I found exposure I noticed streaks of clouds moving in the sky. I thought it would be cool to align them with the tree, so they coming from behind the tree. Took me about 10 attempts to find that spot. Another hour is gone. Then I started experimenting with two flashlights lighting up the crown of the tree or creating light spots in the field. Eventually I stopped at this image, right around 1am.

Fun in Moonlight

17 thoughts on “Fun in the… Moonlight”

    1. Here are a few tips for night photography:
      1. Find the right exposure by first increasing ISO on a camera to maximum. This will minimize exposure length. Once good exposure is found at maximum ISO start moving to ISO at which noise level is acceptable. Every time ISO is reduced in half increase exposure length twice.
      2. Focusing is a challenge. There is not enough light for auto focus to work. What I do in this case is go to the subject I want to be in focus and place a flash light next to it pointing toward the camera. Then get back to the camera and auto focus it on the flashlight. Switch the camera to manual focus and go pick up the flashlight.
      3. Use incandescent light source to highlight something in a landscape rather then led flashlights. There are two problems with led light source: (a) it is not focused, rather spilling all over the place; (b) it has cool temperature, it is better to have warm subject on cool sky, rather then cool subject on cool sky, it makes photograph more dramatic.

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