My second attempt at night photography was a lot more successful. As I went out, there was a light mist of rain coming down, which wouldn’t of affected a high shutter speed such as 1/60s, but on long exposure the rain drops were highly visible.
This time I used my Canon 1200d, which allowed me to plug in a shutter release remote to get the longer exposures, although it was bigger to carry around, it provided better quality images. Also it is only a half frame, where as my Sony a7 from the first shoot is full frame, which meant I couldn’t capture full shots that would’ve been capable on the Sony, without standing really far back, which would often put me in the road or not allow me to fit in the frame at all.
I went out later, around 7pm, which meant there were less cars on the roads, but still a safe enough hour to walk around by myself in the dark, as I didn’t want to be out too late past were people and cars are still in the streets.
Something I really noticed on this shoot was the impact of street lights, even if not in the frame, the power of them would fill one side of the frame, creating an unbalancing light gradient across the frame. I had to find angles were the lights either were not in the frame, or far enough out of the area of the frame to not affect the image.
The cloud coverage was a lot more sparse, which light clouds moving at a quick pace in the sky. On a long exposure, this created a soft flow of clouds that complemented the dark sky.
I used a higher density tripod, to reduce camera shake. I found that 1 minute was the average amount of time to get a correct exposure for a frame. On my remote, it counts down the time for me, which meant I didn’t have to touch the camera at all, even to check the amount of time. This is useful as I could precisely stop the shutter whenever I thought enough light had been taken in, or when something had interrupted the frame and it needed to be restarted.
I found that wider frames worked better, with surrounding space or long leading lines to complement the subject. I often kept my camera on its widest setting, unless this would let in distracting lights such as street lights. The use of colour in windows, from curtains or different light creates contrast making the frames more aesthetically captivating. I would find that occasionally, too many lights would completely throw off the frame, overpowering it with star lights and bright colours.
*Refer to contact sheets in On Assignment book*
I chose 9 final images from my second shoot. I chose them predominately for the compositional lighting conditions, ensuring that the lighting was balanced in the frame, and exposed correctly. In the editing process it helped to sharpen the clarity slightly to enhance the lines that were lost in the noise, and slightly lift the shadows for the buildings. On some images, it also helped to increased the saturation, to make the windows really pop. When put together, I have noticed some images hold a purple hue, compared to a yellow one. I would need to adjust these if presented together in a final series.