Night Shooting

Night is a fantastic time to take photographs however choosing the correct time is as important as choosing the location. My favourite is the short period of time between the sunset ending and the darkness of night being absolute when there is still some light left in the sky, sometimes the eye cannot see it but the camera will record it when taking long exposures. After this time the sky becomes a black mass and only the subject is lit.

Somewhere in the above I said long exposures, with not much light around and wanting the keep the same depth of field without increasing the ISO with its inherent noise means that you can no longer hand hold exposures, certainly not greater than 1/30 second. The obvious solution is a tripod which once set up can give exposures for as long as you need. But what if you don’t have one with you at the time, well any stable platform will do, a stone wall, a bridge parapet and I’ve even used the top of a rubbish bin (and once in a graveyard the flat stone of a tomb). In short anywhere safe where the camera cannot be moved during its exposure time.

Enjoying the Singapore night life

Enjoying the Singapore night life

I’ve attached a couple of images, the Singapore shot was taken from the bridge parapet (with my hand through the camera strap in case of an accident) and the shot in Verona of the arena was actually taken with a monopod (a single pole tripod). For the techies Singapore was ISO 100, F8 for 8 seconds and Verona ISO 100, F9 for 3.2 seconds.

Night at the Arena in Verona

Night at the Arena in Verona

Taking long exposures with a monopod can be done though it needs a little more thought. Set the camera to time delay (to give the camera time to settle once you have pressed the button) and find something to hold the monopod against ( a railing, signpost, anything). Frame and focus the image, press the button and hold the monopod in place, the countdown beeping should start, giving you time to get settled, the results can be reasonable, who said taking photographs wasn’t fun.

More images can be found in this sites galleries as well as high definition versions available through my online shops at the bottom of the page, please visit if only to view and comment.

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Ghosts

Ever seen a ghost? Me neither but I have been in a number of places spooky enough for me to believe that I may have seen anything or nothing, the mind plays funny tricks like that. Trying to catch a ghost on camera of course makes the chances even more unlikely although do a web search and there are strange looking pictures out there where someone has seen something.

For fun I decided that I would like some ghost pictures and of course thanks to photo editing tools the impossible becomes practical. The two examples attached gives an idea of what can be achieved when you play around with images.

Ghost Train

Ghost Train

In ghost Train I had an image of an abandoned section of railway track and it didn’t take much of a search to find an image of an old steam train coming head on to compliment it. Built in two layers the background is darkened and colourised blue to resemble a night scene. Cut-out the image of the train to be the foreground, scale to size, add a few extras like the lamp and smoke, add some motion blur to give it that out of focus look then adjust transparency so that the background shows through.

Blue Spectre

Blue Spectre

A similar process was used for the Blue Spectre except that I wanted this image in daylight. I’d taken this shot in the beautiful old basement of the ruined abbey at Battle England and thought it created the right mood and a great background. Previously I’d taken some shots of some dancers in medieval costume so utilising the same process I cut-out one of them, scaled, blurred and adjusted transparency to suit. The end result was I believe effective and a bit of fun though I don’t image for a second that they would fool anyone, I’m open to comment.

Further digitally manipulated images can be found in this sites gallery ‘Digital Enhancement’, as well as high resolution versions available through my online shop, please enjoy.