Advanced Techniques and Processes 2A – No Daylight Brief – Night Time Photography – experimenting with camera movement

1248Relates to Outcomes: 2 and 3


Following on from the lecture on portrait and triggers and receivers, we were given an additional challenge to experiment with night time photography in moving the camera to achieve an interesting aesthetic by either getting a model to move to create a light trail or by moving the camera yourself while the subject matter remained still.

Method and Presentation:

I decided to test this out by moving the camera late at night experimenting with a variety of settings keeping the ISO at 100 to reduce noise. I began with an aperture of f/16 and 1/30th of a second to one second where I took some photos of my computer/TV screen while relaxing at home.

1201I discovered that by moving the camera from left to right slowly I achieved an eerie glow like composition (see 1201).

Then, by focusing on the screen I proceeded to move the camera in a circular direction which created an interesting aesthetic, thus creating a series of ‘smoke like’ images. Shooting with a 28mm lens (as I wanted to feel like the images were some distance away than would normally allow in a home like environment) I altered my aperture to f/11 and a one second exposure keeping the same ISO.

1232 1



Altering exposure and aperture from 1/1.6th of a second to 1 sec and from f/5.6, 6.3, 9 and f/11, I examined the photos to see which would yield the best results shooting from a no daylight perspective.




What were my aims and have I achieved them?

My aims for this mini project were unclear when I started them other than experimenting with technique in a no daylight setting (which is one of our overall aims for the full course in this semester). However, it became clear that I have developed an interest in the aesthetics of abstract photography and so through experimentation without much in the way at all of conceptualisation I have realised that I can still create of series of images just by picking up my camera and following a brief idea. I am not sure that this is the right way to achieve this or that I have achieved any more in my aims that I set out to do but this experimenting with movement of the camera has given me the confidence to try something different and in that sense I have achieved more than I originally intended.

What have I done?

I took a series of photographs practising on the ideal of a no daylight brief photographing movement (of the camera) and recording its technical ability in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.

What have I got from it?

It was an interesting mini project where I think the aperture of f/5.6 – 6.3 yielded the best results. However, by reducing the noise in Photoshop and altering the colours slightly helped to further emphasise the way in which the camera captured the light from the movement recorded. The most interesting aesthetic was a recorded detail of numbers that appeared in some of the compositions. A clock was near the screen in question which recorded numbers in interesting detail as if on a circular axis. I will be attempting this again in order to create another interesting dimension to my no daylight brief by ”writing a name” onto the screen by moving the camera. This will additionally inform my practice for the no daylight brief in attempting to develop a unique perspective to composition through investigation and practical research.

According to Bernabe (September 2014: Popular Photography, 44) his feature advocates that: ”in any given scene, your approach to your photography is to make the most of the light available”. The key to mastering light is knowing how to match what light is available to the appropriate scene or subject and that is why I have used the three basic attributes of light which are intensity, colour and direction. In this particular case study of night photography, I was able to manipulate the direction at which the camera recorded the light sources that were available. That is what makes this particular study so interesting.

What is next?

I will be testing out light capture in night photography further in an Nikon skills test: ”set fire to a model” and additionally, I will be practising further to improve on my technical skills for the no daylight brief.

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