29 July 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began the iPhoneography Monday Challenge in February. Recently, we had a re-launch that made the challenge open to everyone who uses their Smartphones as their lens–exclusively, experimentally, frequently, occasionally, or back-up. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. Please use the current badge until a new one is created, which will be ready sometime next month.
Suddenly, the day becomes night. The progression from light beams to dark seems swift. In truth, the phases can be seen with patience and persistence.
When the day is brilliant, the dimming usually is prolonged. But overcast or rainy, the lightless becomes quickly evident.
Still, I prefer the days when light fades on a continuum. I can relish the sunset, and the lessening of the sun’s daytime power.
While the limelight is centered on the sun’s performance, I am just as enamored by the contrast and tone of what I have framed. As the end-of-the-day scene moves through gentle or sharp changes, twilight is set. That partial dark leads to nightfall. Gradual light keeps escaping. Day becomes night, and night becomes a mysterious yet inviting other place.
It is this banishment of light that brings much challenge and discovery for the photographer. If its pitch black, just enjoy the silence of light. But when small pockets of artificial (e.g., stationary light from homes and street lights and cars moving and light pollution across the skyline) and natural light (moon and stars) co-exist together or act separately, it’s time to practice the stilling of the evening.
Photographing these conditions are most difficult. How to push through the sunless to capture the beauty and flavor of the dark dark or grey dark or light dark is a constant concern.
One of the masters of the shadowy evening was American photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). His work was influenced by his training in scientific procedures. He spent much time experimenting and observing. Each giving his work a patina of technical skill and mark of magnificence.
His photographs helped to raise the public’s awareness of photography as an art, which was one of his missions. Click here to read more about Stieglitz.
He consciously aimed to show the aestheticism of a photograph. This quest is evident in his art, which speaks for itself.
In the Lens section are my two entries for this week’s challenge. I took them on a heavily rainy June evening. As I peered across the lower roof of my raised ranch, a lamplight spreads its radiance. That artificial light had difficulty cutting through the sheets of fog and rain.
Night photography is not only about the night sky. Once the sun secures itself in the final minutes of a sunset, the world can become strangely eerie and even unsettling. But it also can be stunningly gorgeous with shimmering beams of light and dark tones bouncing off everything or somethings.
Even torrential rain can bring atmosphere that places character onto the landscape. That quality can make a photographer work hard to frame the scene that freezes the memory.
Night photography continues to challenge my sense of what is real and surreal. It continues to push my own experimentation and observation.
Tip of the Week: Here are a few “musts” to use in night photography. Our challenge surrounds the use of Smartphones, and these hints can be helped by the use of an app such as Nightcap, which allows the lens of the iPhone, for example, to stay open longer. It’s 99 cents at iTunes. Click here to read about it. Keep these in mind: 1. Understand the conditions of low light. 2. Use a tripod. 4. Use a wider aperture to increase amount of light and reduce noise level, which an app can do. Night photography is overly challenging. DSLR and SLR cameras are far better suited for this work. Workshops, exhibitions and resources about night photography can be found here.
See other entries for this week’s challenge:
Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.
Here’s a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming Phoneography Monday Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black-and-White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).