We often hear the saying that "Practice makes Perfect" and this is no more evident than in night photography. If you've ever tried to shoot any type of photograph after sunset you will be instantly aware of the challenges involved.
"An Old Friend" Nikon D750 50mm f2 10 sec exposure ISO 1600
The above image is a selfie taken recently at the venue for our Night Photography Workshops near Tarnagulla in Central Victoria. I've shot plenty of frames at this beautiful farmhouse, but I feel that to give the best possible experience to the participants I need to keep on top of my own game.
Night photography is hard and we can't afford to become complacent in our approach. On this particular occasion I wanted to test some new ideas and concepts, as well as try using some different focal length lenses. The bonus for me was to spend some relaxing time out under the stars ... just me with a few sheep and possums.
The difficult part of perfecting night photography is making the time to actually get out and shoot. There are just so many other things to do during the evenings and so it has to be prioritized. Plan ahead and make time to scout out prospective locations during the daylight hours. Then when you go out at night you won't be wasting valuable time trying to decide what and where to shoot.
Try to stretch yourself with your night photography, learn all you can about the subject, find like minded people who can help you along the way. Sometimes we fall into patterns with photography. This can be a good thing, we know what to do and therefore know how to achieve a certain image. On the other hand we can find ourselves frustrated when we don't get the results we'd hoped for and this is the main reason for people giving up on the night photography dream.
I know from first hand experience that persistence and practice are the best character traits to demonstrate, especially in the early stages on the nightscape journey. Persistence will drive us to succeed, we don't want it to beat us ... no matter what.
But practice is the key to success ... if we learn as we go along. Once we begin to capture great images we need to keep getting out there, keep taking shots, try different settings and lens combinations. Research what others are doing and see if this fits your personal style ... it may not, and that's ok but the point here is to keep trying to improve on your work as time goes by.
Compare this years work to what you produced last year and assess what improvements you have made.
"On Location" Nikon D750 85mm f2 10 second exposure ISO 2000
Nightscape photography tends to get into your blood, it can even become obsessive, a bit like lightning or aurora chasing. Whatever your motivation to shoot the night sky, the methodology remains the same ... practice, practice and then practice some more. Keep researching, learn your equipment and choose locations during the daylight hours. Be creative and always look for fresh ideas and subjects ... anything can come alive at night given the right conditions.
But be warned, you may just get hooked ... I know I am.
A few more shots from the same venue which is where we run our Night Photograhy Workshops.
My intent is to inspire you to look up and see the beauty of the night sky.