Thursday, July 29, 2010

In the shadows of the night

Lonely light
London, ON, May 2009
About this photo: We're exploring shadows all week long as part of our latest Thematic Photographic theme. It's only a matter of time before your creative soul compels you to submit your own shadowy photo. And when you do, your mouse will find itself going here.
I love shooting at night. Despite the challenges of exposure - either stick it on a tripod and go long, or handhold it and learn how to make yourself very, very limp - this has always been my favorite time of day to shoot.

On this particular night I was in the parking lot of a nearby strip mall. I forget why we were there, but I remember deciding this forlorn stretch of sidewalk in between a couple of stores was worth remembering. Then as now, I wondered what went on in the shadows. To this day, I have no idea. And I'm thinking that may not be such a bad thing, because we all need a little mystery in our lives.

Your turn: Why does the night fascinate us?


Tabor said...

I really like this photo. Very compelling (my new favorite word).

Mojo said...

Night is my favorite time to shoot too. In fact, I did a whole book of night shots, and in the course of that project I developed lots of theories about why I liked shooting at night. Which is not quite the same question, but we can extrapolate from there.

Shooting at night both simplifies and complicates the task. The complications are mainly related to exposure, and the fact that you can only control the movement of the camera, not the subject. So shooting people at night can be challenging (because not everyone can stand perfectly still for 20 or 30 seconds like Wendy.

But the simplification comes in the form of composition. That random paper cup that you didn't notice is a non-issue because the night swallows it up. Your subject is probably going to be well lit, with the background relegated to... well being a background by the surrounding darkness. And in the digital age, a lot of the problems we used to encounter in night shots during the film days simply don't exist. Reciprocity failure is a non factor because digital photography isn't a photochemical process. And saturation is substantially less of a problem -- for the same reason. I get away with night shots now that I never would have gotten away with back when 35mm was all I had.

But there are still times when I like to mount the camera on the tripod, attach the cable release and shoot 1:00 exposures. Like during the rockin' thunderstorm we had last night. I titled the shot "Nature's Studio" because (to quote the RedBubble description) "No filters, no textures, no effects... The wind and rain and lightning took care of everything for me."

MorahMommy said...

I love this photo. It just has that air of mystery. You would never know that it was taken in the middle of a parking lot.