Techniques and Processes – No Daylight Brief – Night Photography

chinese l 12Relates to Outcomes: 2, 3 and 4


Following on from the no daylight project and proposal, I envisaged that it would be fun to get out and about and photograph some night mini projects to practice and improve on my photography, additionally allowing me to conceptualise and gain a wider based knowledge of technique.

I attended the recent ”Chinese Lantern Parade” this weekend at Lister Park, Bradford. The results of which were very interesting, if not a little bizarre. Through conceptualising my work and thinking about what it is I need to convey in my photography has made me think more technically, which is improving my photography overall.

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Working in low light/no daylight situations requires attention to detail, as what light was available was fading fast, I had to problem solve and think on my feet. I found it next to impossible to use a tripod as the crowds kept shifting and it was difficult to keep up with them so I had to adapt changing my ISO from 800 to 1600, 3200 and 5000 as the night progressed. I also worked with an aperture of f/2.8 and f/4.5 and f/9 following recommendations on night photography projects in Nikon Photo Mag (January 2014) and Practical Photography, as I needed to be as close as I could to my subject. I also adjusted the aperture and ISO on the lake to 800, f/.4, 1.13th of a second, working in RAW + fine. I discovered that due to many light variables, adjustments to these recommendations settings had to be carried out to make effective shots for the many variants in lighting that were surrounding my subjects. My most successful after it started getting really dark was the f/9 variation. However, I later moved to try and capture some flame throwers and had to adjust my settings dramatically to cover the change in lighting.

chinese l 4  Chinese Lanterns were carried by children throughout the  parade and the ‘leaders’ who were dressed in boiler suits with green lights on their heads led the parade playing a variety of instruments

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Paraded through Lister Park in Bradford was a giant Rabbit like figure, a giant snake and a dragon that had huge red eyes. What fascinated me the most were the green goggle type eyes on the band leaders.

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What were my aims and have I achieved them?

My aims were to capture night photography as part of my no daylight brief. Although the images I produced were fun and quirky I was not completely satisfied with the results as I was unable to set up my tripod with the parade moving which created a grain across some of the photographs. I will endeavour to practice this again.

What have I done?

I took a series of photographs at a night festival to capture a feeling of the occasion and to practice the no daylight brief exercise.

What have I got from it?

I struggled with the technique in getting the capture right as the light situation was difficult and kept constantly changing due to the surrounding lights which sometimes clashed with the parade show, yet there were extreme pockets of darkness where I simply could not see without a torch. Constantly adjusting these settings proved difficult and time consuming. I envisage that the only way to improve is to do some more testing. I have been asked to share my photographs with the organisation event members.

What is next?

This was a fun evening with some bizarre characters. My best capture I feel is the lily on the lake where I had more time to compose my thoughts and get the right composition and lighting for my shot. A lower ISO would have needed a tripod and a remote shutter, even a timer to avoid shake and movement. As the crowds were constantly moving I was unable to use these settings in order to gain a shot at all.

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