Night Photography and Learning

One of the things that I struggle with as a photographer is definitely low light/night photography. While I’ve gotten better at using flash, I always worry that my photos are too underexposed. Recently I’ve been trying to push myself to work through this problem, and taking more and more pictures at night, and knowing its okay to mess up and keep trying.

These abstract shots below were taken a little after nine, during blue hour in summer, aimed at lights in a nearby city, framed by these grassy plants. I shot them at the lowest aperture I could (f 1.8) on my 50mm lens, and adjusted my shutter speed and ISO accordingly to get a somewhat properly exposed photo. After a few tries and some moving of a flashlight to illuminate the grass blades, I was able to start producing some photos that I really liked. They reminded me of the work of a photographer I follow on Instagram who’s work I really admire, which made the experience all the more exciting.

As I grow as a photographer I enjoy trying to learn new techniques and deconstruct what I see others do in order to try something similar myself, and it really helps me to learn past the fundamentals and apply things I’ve learned in the Art Department at Marywood University.

The main things I was aiming to achieve in this series of photos was to have clear bokeh as well as have some faint light on the framing objects, whether that be the blades of grass or my model in the portraits. If you don’t know what bokeh is, it’s a word to describe the effect that light takes on when shot at a relatively fast shutter speed, and more importantly, the widest aperture you can obtain. This causes that soft circle effect, that when paired with portraits or any photography can add a dreamy and whimsical feel to photos. After a quick google search of bokeh you’ll quickly see that you recognize this effect from images and movies.

I’m hoping this summer I can continue to push myself to learn more, without fear of “failing” as it is truly a great time to experiment and try new things to work towards perfecting my craft. Sometimes the best way to learn is to try, mess up, and keep trying until you get it right. My new goal is to shoot something each week that I wouldn’t typically do otherwise, so I can expand and be ready to take on even more this upcoming fall semester.

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